South Dakotans visit Capitol Hill to urge support of the farm bill

Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A group of South Dakotans spent Sept. 10 on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to pass a comprehensive, five-year farm bill. A total of 30 South Dakotans were among the nearly 300 participants from across the country to attend the National Farmers Union’s annual legislative fly-in to Washington.

“It’s such a critical time for us to be in Washington and meet with our lawmakers,” said South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke. “We’re nearing the expiration date of the farm bill extension and we’re asking lawmakers to get a farm bill passed before the end of the month.”

Much of the talk in Washington last week was about the situation in Syria. Farmers Union members were working to make sure lawmakers keep the farm bill discussions moving forward and don’t forget about the issue.

“We understand that Syria is a pressing issue right now,” Sombke said. “We’re working to inform members of Congress about the national security impact the farm bill has on our country. If we can’t grow our own food, our national security is at risk.”

South Dakotans met with members of Congress and their staffs throughout the day on Sept. 10, including members from states like Florida, Georgia, Arizona and others.

“It’s important for us to tell our story to people from across the country that aren’t as familiar with agriculture,” Sombke said. “It gives us a chance to discuss these issues that are extremely important.”

The South Dakotans also met privately in separate meetings with South Dakota’s congressional delegation, Sen. John Thune, Sen. Tim Johnson and Rep. Kristi Noem.