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South Dakota Farmers Union urges legislature to stop merger

(KCRG)
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 2:36 PM CST
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PIERRE, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The South Dakota Farmers Union is asking lawmakers to stop the attempt to merge the state’s Department of Agriculture with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Gov. Kristi Noem passed an executive order last year merging the two departments. Her office said the move would streamline state government.

Opponents crafted Senate Resolution of Disapproval 901 as an attempt to stop the merger from taking place.

Farmers Union members voted against the merger unanimously in their 2021 State Convention.

“Our agriculture industry depends upon the Department of Agriculture remaining a stand-alone agency to best serve the many hard-working South Dakota community-minded family farmers and ranchers,” South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke said in a statement. “Invariably there will be conflicts on land use, water issues, or air quality that will involve modern agriculture. Currently, there would be someone from DENR investigating those issues. With the planned merger, we are very concerned about who will stand up and defend agriculture in those scenarios.”

Sombke urged citizens opposed to the merger to contact their legislators and ask them to support the resolution.

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