Senator John Thune discusses important issues for South Dakota
RAPID CITY, S.D. — South Dakota Senator John Thune was in Rapid City on Friday to attend the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo, one of the five largest stock shows in the country. He spent a good part of the day speaking with ranchers and others involved in the agriculture industry.
Thune is the second-highest-ranking Republican in the U.S. Senate and sits on the Agriculture Committee.
“I have been blessed through the years to have committees that have really important connections to South Dakota. And we’re going to try and use those committees for the benefit of our state.”
This year, that committee will draft the next multi-year farm bill.
“There are a number of provisions, disaster programs that benefit livestock producers through the years, that we’ve been involved in developing and then trying to refine and improve. And we’ve got some suggestions about how to make those programs work better. And those will be a focus in the Farm Bill too.”
“And then the conservation title. There are some programs that benefit livestock producers in support of grazing infrastructure – whether that’s water distribution systems, fencing, that sort of thing – and so trying to develop some cost-share programs that provide incentives for livestock producers there. So we’ve got a number of issues related to this farm bill that we’re focused on and [are] hopeful that we’ll have a successful effort to get them included in the final bill.”
Thune has already re-introduced a mandatory country-of-origin labeling bill. He says Congress has passed similar legislation several times in recent years, but they’ve all run into legal challenges.
“We get stuff that comes into the U.S. that says ‘Product of the U.S.A.’ And the only thing that may be made in America is the wrapping it comes in. Country-of-origin labeling is something I’ve been involved with in previous farm bills,” Thune said. “And we’ve had some success getting it into law, only to have it overturned by the World Trade Organization. This is a different approach that we hope will succeed. And it’s going to be a farm bill issue. We’re going to push hard to get it included. I think people have a right to know where their beef comes from. And I think producers in this country have a right to be able to differentiate their product from other places around the world.”