Farm Bill, E30 and Membership Focus of Lyman County Farmers Union Meeting
A large crowd of Lyman County family farmers and ranchers gathered for a Farmers Union listening session April 3, 2017.
“Times are tough in agriculture right now. We saw a need to remind everyone of the voice we have through Farmers Union,” said David Reis, a third-generation Reliance rancher and Lyman County Farmers Union President. “We also needed a little pick-me-up membership-wise.”
Reis explains that Lyman County membership in the state-wide farm organization had waned. The Farmers Union Elevator traditionally had paid annual memberships. “During the good years, people didn’t feel the need for farm organizations like Farmers Union and membership declined,” he said. “With the recent downturn in the Ag economy, farmers and ranchers realize membership is more important than ever.”
Several members renewed their membership during the meeting. “We know Farmers Union is our voice, not only in Pierre but in Washington D.C.,” Reis said. “We need this voice. If we don’t tell our leadership what we need, they will assume we don’t need anything or they will decide for us – and that does not usually work out well for South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers.”
E30 & New Farm Bill
S.D. Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke was the evenings keynote. E30 and the new farm bill were the focus of his talk. But, the Conde farmer said his main purpose of attending the Lyman County quarterly meeting was to listen to members.
“In order to be the voice of our members, we need to listen and clearly understand the issues impacting them – not only on their farms and ranches, but in their rural communities as well,” Sombke said. “Family farmers and ranchers are struggling right now. Anything that we can do as an organization to support them and policy that will drive up demand and commodity prices – we will do.”
–South Dakota Farmers Union