Farmers voice concerns at Dakotafest

Published: Aug. 17, 2016 at 7:03 PM CDT
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It was a packed house at Dakotafest by farmers who were concerned about being able to do their job and make a living.

"We've got a lot of things going on. Farm economy isn't real good people are wondering how do I sharpen the pencil and survive this. We also have regulations raining down from Washington D.C.," said President of South Dakota Farm Bureau Scott VanderWall.

Senators John Thune, Mike Rounds and Representative Kristi Noem were on hand holding a forum to discuss the low commodity and live stock prices and trade policies that have farmers suffering from making their fair share of wages.

"I know the challenges but this is been a very difficult crop year with the drought that parts of the state are facing and low commodity prices there facing are some unique challenges," Noem said.

Representative Noem grew up in a farming household and she says it is issues like these that give her fuel.

"This reminds me of why I do what I do. We need normal everyday people that know how these producers feel making the argument for these policies in Washington D.C.," added Noem.

One of the frustration some farmers told us they face are all the regulations being dropped down, costing them thousands of dollars.

"All these regulations coming out of this administration is really stifling the farm economy and really the economy of the whole country," said Mel Freeman, a farmer for 30 years from Ethan.

"All these regulations that are impacting the industry get passed down to consumers. The average U.S. American pays an extra $15,000 per year just to comply with regulations," said Noem.

Several farmers share the thought that government in Washington D.C. think they know what is best for their land.

"No one better than us growers and producers that know about the land. We know what we produce better than anybody but us growers and producers. They always feel like they are in control, they are the ones that best know how to run and operate everything. It's not the case," said farmer Mark Engelbrecht.

Many of the farmers we spoke to today said having Senators Thune, Rounds and Representative Krisit Noem come down and listen to their problems gives them hope for the future.