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Doug Sombke, president of SD Farmer's Union
Courtesy Photo
Doug Sombke, president of SD Farmer's Union

SDFU opposes merger of state agencies, supports beef checkoff referendum

Jerry Oster, WNAX - December 24, 2020

HURON, SD - South Dakota Farmers Union members at their recent convention approved several policy issues. President Doug Sombke says their members overwhelmingly oppose the proposal by the Governor to merge the State Departments of Agriculture and Environment and Natural Resources.

“They are both good agencies to have but they’re really a watchdog for one or the other.  They really shouldn’t be put together. I don’t see where this a good thing for anybody other than the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or CAFO’s.  It’s a one-stop shop type of place to go now for them. Honestly, I don’t think it’s a good thing and our members have spoken quite clearly on why.

He says they’ll be pushing state lawmakers to vote against merging those departments.

“The Governor is going to do what the Governor is going to do,” says Sombke.  “ But the fact of the matter is that we don’t have to all like it.  If we don’t stand up, speak up and let our legislators know what we think, nothing will change.”  He added, “I don’t quite understand why they think should be the case.  I think if they want to do anything with the department of ag, they should develop a trade area for us to reach out to other countries.”

Sombke says their most heavily debated resolution led to their group supporting the call for a national beef checkoff referendum.

“You’ve got some mixed emotions That was the most debated resolution we had.  We understand what good a checkoff can do but we also understand the beef checkoff is being abused. It’s the packers that are using our own money to fight against us. And that’s just not right.”

The 100 members attending their virtual convention also approved six other resolutions they’ll work on for policy for 2021.

Phone number: 605-347-4455
E-mail: [email protected]
Address: 1612 Junction Avenue, Suite #1
Sturgis, SD 57785