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News and notes from around the region

The Farm Bill

The lead Farm Bill negotiators have outlined the reforms they agree can be made in the bill. Right before Christmas, they got estimates back to see how much these reforms would cost – or in some cases, save. Now, it’s a matter of tweaking the bill to make sure all the numbers add up, but we are on track to finish a comprehensive five-year farm bill during the first part of 2014.

–S.D. Representative Noem



School Lunch Reform



We all want our kids to be healthier, but we don’t want them to go hungry either. In mid-December, I introduced a new bill to lift the current law’s onerous meat and grain limitations, giving schools more flexibility to decide what they will feed our kids at lunchtime. Simply put – bureaucrats in Washington shouldn’t be able to dictate what goes on our kids’ plates in South Dakota.

–S.D. Representative Noem

Donations to Rancher Relief Fund top $3 million

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, Cattlemen’s Association and Sheepgrowers Association joined forces to setup the Rancher Relief Fund to help livestock producers affected by the early October blizzard. Early estimates showed more than 60,000 cattle lost but no accurate figure is currently available.

The original goal was to collect $1 million for producers’ short-term needs, but donations from across the world have more than tripled the starting goal. The Associated Press reports donations have been collected from more than 5,000 groups and individuals. Applications for assistance have been processed for almost 400 livestock producers. Remaining funds will be distributed after the Dec. 31 application deadline.

–adapted from an Ag United release

SD FFA video contest winners announced

South Dakota Soybean Association and the South Dakota Department of Agriculture (SDDA) are excited to announce the winners of the 2013 FFA Video Contest. Winners were determined by the videos with the most views. The contest was open to all high school FFA students in South Dakota, who were challenged to create a video to share the story of today’s family farms. Winning videos were:

• First Place: “It’s Still All Farmin’ to Me” with 42,882 views, submitted by Bryghton Edberg and Rachel Schartz from the West Central FFA Chapter.

• Second Place: “Crops, Crops, Baby!” with 34,427 views, submitted by Lauren Dolly and Sara Waldner from the West Central FFA Chapter.

• Third Place: “Biotechnology, There Ain’t No Doubt” with 6,886 views, submitted by Kamberlyn Lamer, Mykah Wiseman and Brooke Ollerich from the Tri-Valley FFA Chapter.

–Ag United

South Dakota Soybean Association welcomes new board member, officers

The South Dakota Soybean Association (SDSA) welcomes Scott Biskeborn, a farmer from Chamberlain, S.D., to the SDSA board as the 2013 Young Leader Representative. SDSA elected John Horter, a farmer from Andover, S.D., as President and Jerry Schmitz, a farmer from Vermillion, S.D., as Vice President at the SDSA Annual Meeting on Wednesday. SDSA also reelected John Krutzfeldt, a farmer from Wolsey, S.D., as Second Vice President. Todd Hanten, a farmer from Goodwin, S.D., was elected for the Treasurer position, and Jon Schaeffer, a farmer from Viborg, S.D., was elected to serve as Secretary.

–Ag United

Wyoming nonresident elk applications due Jan. 31

With the coming of the New Year also comes the first application periods for the 2014 hunting seasons. The non-resident elk application is the first on the docket and the application period is Jan. 1-31.

Applications must be submitted online by 5 p.m. on Jan. 31. Beginning this year, all applications must be made online through the Wyoming Game & Fish website. After 5 p.m., Jan. 31, the online application field will no longer accept applications. Hunters wanting additional information on applying can call 307-777-4600.

–Wyoming Game & Fish

Ex-senator Pressler joins S.D. senate race

According to news reports, former South Dakota republican senator, Larry Pressler announced recently that the will run for the Senate in South Dakota again, this time as an independent. A “moderate,” Pressler supported Obama in 2008 and 2012, said the news story. He served in the Senate from 1979 to 1997 and will vie for retiring Senator Tim Johnson’s seat. F


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