Agriculture and Environment and Natural Resources departments merging in South Dakota

Staff reports
Farm Forum

PIERRE, S.D. - Gov. Kristi Noem announced last week that the South Dakota’s departments of agriculture and environment and natural resources will merge to form the streamlined South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Hunter Roberts, the current secretary of environment and Natural Resources, will be tapped to oversee the new department, according to a news release. Beginning Sept. 8, and until the merger is complete, Roberts will serve as interim secretary of agriculture while continuing to also lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Roberts is an owner and operator of the Roberts Ranch in Stanley and Lyman counties. He has worked in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development as state energy director and as a policy adviser for former Gov. Dennis Daugaard working on agricultural policy and overseeing the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.

“I’ve worked in agriculture my entire life, and I am excited to lead this department,” Roberts in the release. “South Dakotans know that farmers and ranchers are the best conservationists, and this department will promote our number one industry while we simultaneously protect our natural resources.”