The South Dakota Farmers Union opposes the merger of the state’s ag and environment departments. In an op ed, Farmers Union President Doug Sombke says agriculture deserves dedicated resources and a dedicated state department. State lobbyist Mitch Richter says Farmers Union isn’t the only organization opposed. “Dakota Rural Action and Friends of the Big Sioux River are opposed. There are some farm organizations that haven’t come out either way.” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will issue an executive order on the merger at the start of the state legislative session. If state lawmakers do not oppose the effort, the order takes effect within 90 days. “There’s only two other states that do this: Alaska and Rhode Island. Alaska has about $40 million in farm economy dollars and Rhode Island has $170 million. South Dakota has $10 billion and this shows it deserves to stand alone.” The South Dakota legislative session begins on Tuesday.
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