Proposed bill to team up some universities, ag producers to better deal with industry challenges

RAPID CITY, S.D. – This week, Representative Dusty Johnson alongside Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, introduced a new bill to help farmers and ranchers stay on top of the game.

In an industry where dozens of factors determine a person’s livelihood, Johnson says the Livestock Risk Management and Education Act would equip farmers and ranchers with more of an understanding of industry hurdles and how to cleanly jump over them.

“In cattle country, some are wearing four or five hats,” said Johnson. “I mean, they’re doing the books, they’re out pulling calves, they’re trying to figure out what marketing approach looks like for them. This is going to make it a little easier.”

The bill would provide funds for certain land-grant universities, such as South Dakota State University, but isn’t focused on enrolled students. The idea behind the bill, Johnson says comes from producers themselves, wanting more tools in their hands to deal with industry volatility.

“This would be about training,” said Johnson. “This is not so much students in the four-year program as it is actual day to day working producers having a better understanding of the futures market.”

In a statement, SDSU Vice President of Research and Economic Development, Daniel Scholl said in regards to the bill announcement:

“This bill strengthens the ability of South Dakota State University and other Land-Grant Universities to provide unbiased third-party research and expertise on livestock market risk management to one of the nation’s high risk food sectors. We look forward to the possibility to develop and deliver cutting edge risk management tools and education programs to livestock producers in partnership with key industry organizations.  This should be a win for U.S. livestock growers and for consumers.”

Johnson says the bill is just another way to help combat the short-term market fluctuations and long-term trends that have all but favored the agriculture industry.

Another tool aimed to aid agriculture  is the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement that sits, waiting for approval.

The Senate of Mexico has ratified the agreement and awaits a presidential stamp. Following recent elections in Canada, they’re expected to make the next move.

Here in the U.S., Johnson says focus on the impeachment inquiry is hurting legislators’ ability to close the deal.

“There can be no question that the tremendous focus on impeachment has slowed legislative business,” said Johnson. “I mean earlier this summer we were actually starting to make clear progress toward accomplishing key legislative goals – surprise medical billing, bringing down price of prescription drugs, and making key trade deals like USMCA. Progress in those areas has absolutely been stalled because of impeachment. Whether someone is for impeachment or against impeachment, I think they should all be irritated that Congress is so consumed in this inquiry that we’re not getting our other work done.”

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