AGRICULTURE

S.D. ag secretary praises industry as ‘patriots’

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Farm Forum

Speaking to the South Dakota Corn Growers on Saturday, South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch praised those involved in agriculture.

“Isn’t it great to be in ag in South Dakota?” he said. “As you provide food for our communities, feeding those across our country with quality control, you are true patriots. The global presence of agriculture is increasing. Our food is safer and better than that of anyone else.”

“When we have a serious conversation about energy, I’m reminded of what foreign oil looks like,” Lentsch said. “Are you ready to keep growing what you’ve got? I’ll be heading to a hearing in the heartland in Iowa on Thursday. With other ag leaders, we’ll talk about renewable energy of the future. Now is not the time to blink. We have a commitment to the future that you’ve been leading. You started by planting 880 million bushels of corn. Now is not the time for naysayers to start driving the train. It’s time to double down to hold on to what is important to us. The state has diversity in its economy. Every bit we do makes us better tomorrow. If we hit pause, we’re hitting it for where we go tomorrow; we need to applaud what has been done.”

Speaking about the recent discussion on pheasant habitat in Huron, Lentsch noted that ag had voices at the table. “You are great at telling your story. Tough decisions will be made to provide for precision habitat. A great deal of education was going on that day. It’s important to do that. If you are not telling your story, someone else is.”

Lentsch said, “It’s an honor and privilege to go to Des Moines for the hearing on the RFS and join with other leaders to carry a united message — ‘Don’t mess with the RFS.’ “

In the governor’s state of the state address, Gov. Daugaard highlighted agriculture and embraced local control. Twenty-four counties have signed up for an initiative to identify the infrastructure for the best potential sites for ag expansion. The team in Pierre will be working to identify the talents and treasures available.

Blizzard Atlas hit the state with a fierceness of rain, wind, temperatures and snow that no one was prepared for and no one knew how bad it would be. With no winter coats, livestock caught in the elements succumbed. More than $5 million has been raised and 600 applications have been filed to receive help.

“What has been received is not on the balance sheet,” Lentsch said. “Corn can be valued, hay can be valued, but the community provided rich blessings that come in many shapes, stories and sizes, across the state and Midwest. Checks have been written, but the hardest is being willing to accept the help. The donations are greatly appreciated.”

“In 2014, agriculture will not be looking back but looking forward, helping when a part of our community needs a helping hand. The industry is committed to food security for the future and the resilience that is here.”