U.S. House Candidates Talk Farm Bill at Dakotafest Forum

MITCHELL, S.D. – The next person to fill South Dakota’s lone U.S. House seat will undoubtedly work on the nation’s next Farm Bill.

Each of the four candidates looking to make their way to D.C. took park in the Dakotafest forum, and was asked this question:

“What provision or change do you think is most critical to South Dakota in the Farm Bill?”

Libertarian candidate George Hendrickson – who is a proponent of medical cannabis – says the bill need to be more open.

“I think we need to focus more on getting startups ready for new agriculture, new farmers coming into play making loans available to them. I think this becomes a priority for bringing up the next generation of farmers,” said Hendrickson.

Republican candidate Dusty Johnson notes there are two bills: one in the house, and one in the senate.

“Both bills have incredibly strong components,” he said.

Johnson says he strongly supports the Soil Health and Income Protection Program, or SHIPP, that Senator Thune helped write into the Senate Bill.

“It allows you to do some haying, it allows you to do some grazing, it’s really a revenue protection program that I think is great news for South Dakota producers,” said Johnson.

Independent candidate Ron Wieczorek says a complete overhaul of the entire Farm Bill is needed.

“Tweaking the same problem, the same symptom over and over for the last 25 years hasn’t solved anything. I want a program which my grandsons will have a future on, and this Farm Bill is not going to give my grandsons any future at all,” he said.

Democratic candidate Tim Bjorkman says there are fundamental problems with the current House Farm Bill.

“We need to stand up push away the fat cats and the special interests who wrote the House Farm Bill, the Senate Farm Bill doesn’t contain any of those special interests and tries to lower caps instead of raise them.”

Four different voices, each with their own vision for the nearly 870,000 South Dakotans they hope to represent.

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