I may not be a farmer, but I know what it’s like to work hard. If you are a farmer during weeks like this one, where Antarctica looks balmy, there is no option to simply take the day off. Farmers endure. Agriculture endures.
Agriculture is our state’s no. 1 industry. South Dakota’s ag economy not only directly matters to farmers and ranchers but also supports our rural and urban communities. Our rich farming and ranching culture should make us all proud. I’m particularly proud that 98% of farms in South Dakota are family-owned and operated, with over 2,500 South Dakota century farms. My work in Congress will make sure these traditions continue.
However, the importance of agriculture goes much further. Federal policies, written and implemented correctly, provide farmers and ranchers the tools to continue producing the safest, most reliable food supply on the planet.
To me, agriculture means food security for South Dakota and our nation. It means providing a safety net that sustains family farms through hard times and inclement weather, so we never become reliant on the politics of other nations to put food on the table.
What we do on the Ag Committee will help preserve the South Dakota we cherish. Most of our land is managed by private land owners, who are primarily farmers and ranchers. For folks who care about clean air, water and quality habitat, the Ag Committee matters. Our work will help us ensure our producers have the tools and technical assistance to continually make improvements, leaving the land in better shape for the next generation.
I will always advocate for self-sufficiency, but life can and will be unpredictable. Working on the Ag Committee means honoring our commitment to those in need and providing a bridge between tough times and independence. I grew up in modest means and I understand how hard it can be for many South Dakota families to make sure there’s food in the fridge. While poorly managed government programs can create greater dependence, well-crafted and well-executed policies can enable independence. Creating welfare programs that work for families is something I have a personal interest in and will make a top priority in my work on the Agriculture Committee.
I’ve been blessed with guidance of South Dakota’s farmers, ranchers and consumers over the years and I hope this guidance continues as I represent South Dakota on this committee. We have a good Farm Bill to work with, but a good bill is only as good as its implementation. I will work every day to ensure this bill is as good in practice as it is in promise.