S. Dakota farmers, ranchers travel to D.C.
HURON, S.D. – More than 30 South Dakota family farmers, ranchers and their supporters traveled to Washington, D.C. this week (September 12-14) to meet with Congressional leadership to share their stories and how the current market economy is challenging the work they do to feed and fuel families across this nation and the world. These South Dakota Farmers Union members are among the more than 250 members from across the nation who met in D.C. for the 2018 National Farmers Union annual Fly-In.
“It’s exciting to be in D.C. to visit with Congressional leaders while everyone is chewing over the farm bill and, during a time that whenever I turn on the news, no matter which channel, they are actually talking about soybeans,” explains third generation De Smet farmer, Rob Lee, 32, who raises soybeans, corn with his dad and brother.
During the first day of this two-day Fly-In, Lee and the group met with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue as well as other Department of Agriculture officials to discuss the status of the farm bill, the impact the trade war has had on farmers and ranchers and other issues impacting South Dakota’s agriculture producers.
“What an exceptional opportunity for Secretary Perdue and Congressional leaders to hear from those of us most impacted by this trade war and hear our personal stories. We hope this interaction with those of us who actually plant the corn, feed the cattle and harvest the soybeans will help him understand why we need a farm bill sooner than later,” said Doug Sombke, Conde farmer and SDFU President.
For the remainder of their time in D.C., the group will continue to share their personal stories, meeting one-on-one with Congressional leadership and staff.
Along with Sombke and Lee, the other South Dakotans who are attending the NFU Fly-In include:
Wayne Soren, Lake Preston farmer and SDFU Vice President; Karla Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director, Huron; Larry Birgen, Beresford farmer; Kirk Schaunaman, Aberdeen farmer; Terry and Eileen Sestak, Tabor farmers and Terry serves as an SDFU board member; Oren and Tracy Lesmeister, Parade ranchers; Brett and Jessica Kenzy, Iona farmers and their children, Sierra Rencountre, and Sapphire Kenzy; David Sigdestad, Pierpont farmer; David and Brenda Reis, Oacoma farmers; Rocky Forman, SDFU Member Services Coordinator, Huron; Chris and Ronalee Johnsen, Wessington farmers; Craig Blindert, Salem farmer and Farmers Union Insurance Agent; Luke Blindert, Salem farmer and Farmers Union Insurance Agent; Jeff and Rachel Kippley Aberdeen farmers; Mitch Richter, SDFU lobbist, Rapid City; and Nathan and Samantha Miller, Houghton farmers.
A group of South Dakota high school and college youth, who serve on Farmers Union National Youth Advisory Council, also traveled with the group to DC. They include: Jim Brockel, Shade Hill; Caleb Nugteren, Canistota and Justin Goetz, Selby.
To learn more about how South Dakota Farmers Union supports family farmers and ranchers, visit http://www.sdfu.org.
–South Dakota Farmers Union