Agriculture producers need relief. For months, South Dakota and our neighboring states faced record flooding and now we’re seeing continued wet conditions from rainfall. For those of us who didn’t grow up in Ag, rainstorms are equated with things like blankets, movies, and cancelled ball games. For South Dakota producers, more rain means delay. It means folks can’t plant their crops — it means folks can’t make a living.

The USDA crop progress report tells us that only 25% of our intended corn acres are planted, but that’s not a surprise to South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers.

South Dakota producers are resilient and survived one of the harshest winters on record, followed by devastating spring flooding and a delayed planting season. Last week, Ron from Marion contacted my office. Ron and his son are farmers and feed cattle. He let me know that almost nothing has been planted in his area and he won’t be able to feed his cattle unless straw was shipped in from across the state.

Much of the national media doesn’t view continual moisture as a flood — it doesn’t make the front pages and the Speaker isn’t demanding to bring the issue to the floor for debate. But for those families praying for the sun to shine or for just one good day of dry fields, there is nothing more important.

As a nation we pride ourselves on our ability to help our neighbors in need and provide assistance where we can.

I appreciate the administration’s recent announcement that it will provide $16 billion in farm assistance to producers, but we need to find a solution for the long-term. This problem isn’t new. The United States is in its fifth year of declining commodity prices and net farm income. Our producers need certainty when weather conditions stall their production, our producers need an open-market, and our producers need Congress to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

To me, making crop insurance and prevent plant work, cutting red tape to make sure our livestock producers have enough feed to get through the year, and keeping our focus on market access are some things we absolutely can and should unite on to find common sense solutions. I’m glad to have two effective colleagues in the Senate to help me with this challenge as well as other members of the House facing similar problems from Arkansas to Illinois.

When Congress returns to work, passing a disaster package must be our top priority.

To do this, my colleagues need to understand what “wet conditions” truly mean. To South Dakotans, wet conditions can be the breaking point for family farms and rural communities. That’s the message I plan to bring back to D.C. next week as we get to work for producers.

(1) comment

GBR SD

How about this Dusty, stand up to Trump and his stupid tariffs and do what you were put in your position to do! Don't be a follower, be a leader and show some courage. His stupid "trade wars" are costing ALL of us, not just farmers but yet to make it right he gives them welfare handouts. How is this helping? Don't be a coward and a puppet, show some courage and do the right thing. COUNTRY OVER PARTY!

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