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Johnson named most effective Republican on agriculture

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Dusty as Phase Technologies

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., right, asks a question of Phase Technologies Chief Operating Officer Todd Aldren, left, during a tour of the company Friday in Rapid City. Johnson was named the most effective Republican for agriculture issues. Phase Technologies manufactures variable frequency drives for agricultural irrigation.

Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., was named the most effective Republican for agriculture issues by the Center for Effective Lawmaking, a joint project of Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia, among others.

The nonpartisan group also listed Johnson as tied for third on effectiveness for Native American policy issues.

The study's scores are based on the combination of 15 metrics regarding the bills that each member of Congress sponsors, how far they move through the lawmaking process, and how substantial their policy proposals are.

Johnson was in Rapid City on Friday, where he toured Phase Technologies, a company that manufactures phase converters and variable frequency drives for agricultural irrigation and water pumping, among other uses.

He said his commitment to agriculture comes through the hard work of his staff, studying legislation, talking to farmers and ranchers in South Dakota about their needs, and working through in a bipartisan way to push bills that actually matter for agriculture issues.

"To be acknowledged as the most effective legislator in ag issues is a huge reward," Johnson said. "These things matter not just to South Dakota, they matter to our country. This is a still a country that, to a tremendous degree, is feeding the world. We want to continue to make that the case."

As the ranking member of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, Johnson said he is continuing to press on the PRICE Act, which would reform pricing in cattle economics; and the DIRECT Act, a measure that would amend laws to allow for interstate internet sales of state-inspected meat and poultry.

"We want to create an environment where small processors can grow," he said. "We know that more competition in that processing space is going to allow independent producers and small feeders more of an opportunity to get a fair price for their product."

Johnson is also a member of the bipartisan House Biofuels Caucus. This week, he led an effort to urge Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan to meet with the group of lawmakers to discuss prioritizing the Renewable Fuel Standard and higher ethanol and biodiesel blends in consultation with agricultural stakeholders.

According to recent reports, biofuels or corn ethanol produce greenhouse gas emissions at a significantly lower rate than gasoline.

“As you know, biofuels are an integral part of sound environmental policy that serves to keep and create home-grown jobs, and generates demand for American farmers,” said the members. “A recent report found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46% lower than gasoline. The role of biofuels provides a compelling story that must be utilized to achieve carbon emission reduction goals. Biofuels producers need to be included in any climate conversation, and rural America must not be left behind.”

Contact Nathan Thompson at nathan.thompson@rapidcityjournal.com.

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