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Trade, Farm Bill Top SD Farm Bureau Convention Agenda

South Dakota has 46,000 agricultural producers on 31,000 farms or ranches. (
South Dakota has 46,000 agricultural producers on 31,000 farms or ranches. (
November 16, 2018

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Like other ag producers across the country, South Dakota farmers are eager for Congress to pass a new farm bill – a topic that's sure to get plenty of attention when the South Dakota Farm Bureau kicks off its annual convention in Rapid City today.

The Bureau's centennial in 2017 acknowledged farms across the state that were also 100 years old. This year, Executive Director Krystil Smit expects many of the discussions to focus on critical issues that have emerged since then.

"Farmers and ranchers come to hear what is the latest on the farm bill, on trade negotiations, on state policy and things that will be coming up in our state legislature, kicking off in January," says Smit.

The 2014 farm bill officially expired in September. Smit says with the convention being held on the western side of the state this year, some programming will address issues of particular interest to east-river ranchers and ag producers.

South Dakota farmers have nearly wrapped up the soybean harvest, but faced with reduced prices because of the trade war with China, Smit says many are choosing to sit on their crops, one of the largest to date, rather than sell. A price for a bushel of soybeans is down $2 from eight months ago, and China's soybean imports are down 94 percent.

Smit says many elevators are storing to capacity now that China's strong destination market has evaporated.

"That is creating a huge transportation and storage issue and you know, right as we're wrapping-up harvest in the state, this is top-of-mind for our row-crop producers," says Smit.

Smit notes that "food trends" will be another issue at the convention – meaning how consumer preferences and demands are changing. She says how food companies respond will ultimately demand a similar response from ag producers if they want to remain competitive.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD