South Dakota Stockgrowers welcome senator
On Feb. 25 several South Dakota Stockgrower directors and staff were pleased to have the opportunity to meet with Sen. Tim Johnson at his office in Rapid City.
Several issues of concern to the Stockgrowers were brought forth at the meeting including those from Stockgrowers' Marketing Chairman Vaughn Meyer of Reva, who discussed the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rule. He also shared some concerns regarding the present Beef Checkoff Program.
The GIPSA rule has been proposed by direction of the 2008 farm bill in an effort to put some teeth into the Packers and Stockyards Act. It was enacted in 1921, but without proper rules for enforcement.
South Dakota Stockgrowers are especially appreciative of the fact that Johnson is such a strong supporter of agriculture and our livestock producers. Long being a proponent of competition in the market place and the need for the new rules, he advised that he would be working with some of his colleagues on those issues.
Other issues of concern included the proposed wilderness area in the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands and multiple use areas versus wilderness areas. Director Chance Davis, Belle Fourche, explained his understanding that the original intent of Congress was multiple use not wilderness.
President Kenny Fox spoke on the Animal Identification Program stating that Dr. John Clifford Deputy Administrator of Animal Plant Health Inspection Service wants to identify all cattle, including feeder cattle, across state lines. Fox said that is not what a coalition of livestock organizations agreed to last year. He requested that the senator (who is on the Appropriations Committee) work to not supply funding for the program.
Johnson was asked about his thoughts on the upcoming 2012 farm bill by Vice President Shane Kolb, Meadow. The senator said the starting date is March 17 and stated that the farm bill will probably receive a lot of budgetary pressure this year. He said, "My question is when there's only so much money, how do we make the best of it?" One of the replies to the senator's question was whether we can somehow use a cost of production formula.
Silvia Christen, development director, Rapid City, explained to the senator how an agri-tourism program will benefit the Stockgrowers, provide a second income for participating farmers and ranchers, and benefit the rural economy in South Dakota.
Fox stated, "We're always pleased to meet with Senator Johnson, whose positive attitude and genuine concern for agriculture makes our job a little bit easier."