South Dakota merges Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Departments
PIERRE, S.D. — The State Departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources are now one under the DANR, or Department of Ag and Natural Resources.
Governor Kristi Noem called for the merger earlier this year citing it’s ability to be more effective and more efficient. Leading the merger is Secretary Hunter Roberts, former DENR Secretary and interim Ag Secretary. He says South Dakotans won’t see many changes up front but streamlined information in services and sources of that information.
“We’re not taking away services, we’re not changing programs,” said Roberts. “We’re re-prioritizing a few things and moving resources around but we didn’t want to take resources away from producers and we didn’t want to take options and resources away from the citizens of the state so that’s been a priority.”
The merger does come with a new program, the Livestock Services Program, which combines the dairy and egg programs with the feedlot permit program. Roberts says this makes for a one-stop-shop for producers.
“We think by combining them, we might be able to have some synergies from the producer side of things,” said Roberts. “Maybe less visits to visit those sites, maybe when I’m out doing a dairy inspection, I can also do a peripheral waste management system to make sure there’s no surface water issues we we’ll hopefully save some tax payer dollars.”
Another change — the South Dakota Wildland Fire Division moves over to the Department of Public Safety.