PIERRE, SD – The full Senate will get a chance to debate the proposed merger of the South Dakota Ag Department with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The Senate Ag & Natural Resources Committee (Thursday morning) debated a Senate Resolution of Disapproval to the merger proposed by Governor Kristi Noem.
Senator Troy Heinert of Mission says it needs to be heard by the full Senate. “This is big. This a complete shift of how ag business and environmental business gets done in South Dakota,” the Senator said. “And it deserves a full Senate debate. This is our only opportunity as legislators to weigh into this process. All the crackerbarrels I attended -in predominantly ag counties – none of them supported this merger.”
Senator Joshua Klumb of Mitchell supports the merger. “I believe that ag and enviornment go together hand in hand. As a farmer, I don’t want dirty air or dirty water anymore than anyone else does. I believe that a good steward of the land is what an agricultural producer should be. They won’t have conflict if they’re good. By not changing any laws or any regulations with this merger, I don’t see those becoming endangered.”
The resolution of disapproval passed out of the committee with a do pass recommendation on a four to three vote.
A number of South Dakota ag, natural resource, and environmental organizations oppose the merger, including the state’s largest member-driven group, the South Dakota Farmer’s Union.