South Dakota Farmers Union host panel discussion on food security

Published: Sep. 4, 2021 at 11:21 PM CDT
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Huron, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - At the South Dakota State Fair producers and members of the South Dakota Farmers Union held a panel discussion on food security, highlighting the struggles of the last year.

The COVID-19 pandemic hit many industries hard, including the agricultural industry.

“My whole concern with the COVID shutdowns of everything, it highlights the fact that things are too concentrated when one company is affected by COVID, and it affects a fourth of the supply chain,” said Scott Kolousek, a South Dakota Cattle Producer.

Some issues producers are facing have been going on since before the pandemic, and the panel’s goal during their discussion was to see what concerns those in the agricultural business have.

“89% of all farmers, ranchers, and producers make more than half of their income off the farm and we got to do better than that,” said Zach Ducheneaux, USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator.

The problem of food security does not just affect producers but consumers as well.

“We’re paying some extraordinarily high prices for food today, but on the flip side of it the farmers and ranchers really aren’t seeing that pricing on our end,” said Oren Lesmeister, a South Dakota Farmers Union Board Member. “That’s where we got to step in and try to solve some of this to where everyone is on an even playing field.”

Local farmers and ranchers have seen people express more interest in where their food comes from.

“People have reached back out to producers and made that contact again, so although we have exposed this horrible hole we have in our production system, we’ve also gained a mechanism and that’s getting the urban people reattached to the rural people,” said Lesmeister.

Those who spoke at the panel said it’s important for both producers and consumers to reach out to local legislators about food security, so they know what policies are important to local communities.

More information about the South Dakota Farmer Union can be found by clicking here.

Information on the USDA Farm Service Agency can be found by clicking here.

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