South Dakota Farm Leaders Troubled by Farm Bill

South Dakota farm leaders are reportedly deeply troubled by the farm bill extension passed by Congress this week.

Despite months of debate in Congress and pressure from farm advocacy groups, the House failed to pass a new five-year farm bill, refusing to hold a vote on either the Senate or the House Agriculture Committee bills. While many farmers hoped that a new farm bill could be wrapped into the fiscal cliff legislation (largely as a savings measure), Congress instead chose to temporarily extend the expired farm bill, a decision that will increase federal spending.

Farmers are reacting angrily to Congress’ lack of action on the farm bill. In South Dakota, agricultural leaders are particularly disappointed given the tremendous importance of the farm sector on the state’s economy.

President of the South Dakota Farmers Union Doug Sombke recently called the extension a “great disappointment,” stating, “[Congress] had every opportunity to pass a new five-year farm bill by the end of the year, but chose instead to ignore its rural constituents.”  

Sombke was also upset at Congress’ refusal to listen to the advice of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, which both offered slight modifications to a farm bill extension that would extend disaster relief and aid to dairy farmers.

Instead, as Sombke said, “The only thing I can say with any confidence is Congress threw both House and Senate committees under the bus.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer