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The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is a grassroots organization whose individual producer members determine issues of importance to the state's livestock industry. With input into the policy development, each member has the opportunity to influence SDSGA's policy and priorities. Individual members of the Association pull together to make powerful decisions - dedicated to promoting the livestock industry and enhancing the opportunity for profitability.

SD Stockgrowers News

SD Stockgrowers Pleased with ruling to block WOTUS Rule, Thank SD AG Jackley for leadership

A federal judge in North Dakota issued an injunction halting the implementation of the Obama Administration and Environmental Protection Agency’s rule to redefine and expand jurisdiction over Waters of the United States (WOTUS). The ruling came just one day before the WOTUS rule was set to take effect.

“We are very happy to see that the judge halted this rule, and even better that South Dakota was one of the state’s taking the lead in the suit,” said Bob Fortune, President of South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. “We have been very worried about what this rule would do to our ranchers. Thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Marty Jackley, South Dakota is, at least for now, not going to have to worry about EPA expanding its jurisdiction over our family ranches.”

In the ruling issued just one day before the WOTUS rule was to go into effect, Judge Ralph R. Erickson found that, “States are likely to succeed on their claim because (1) it appears likely that the EPA has violated its Congressional grant of authority in its promulgation of the Rule at issue, and (2) it appears likely the EPA failed to comply with APA requirements when promulgating the Rule.”

EPA continues to hold that the rule won’t expand jurisdiction or control over private land, but by their own admission, the rule would include up to 5% more land that is currently not subject to EPA. Agriculture groups opposed to the rule contend the expansion would be much larger.

“Stockgrowers is very concerned that the WOTUS rule will expand the jurisdiction that EPA has over water on private lands, and over land that drains water. It would require ranchers to deal with federal permits and face huge penalties for standard practices like building fences and building stockdams on their own land,” explained Fortune.

The injunction means that the WOTUS rule won’t go into effect in the states included in the suit. The 13 states exempted by the ruling are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The final decision on the WOTUS rule will be considered at a future hearing in the North Dakota Federal Court.

Fortune. “Our ranches take water quality and conservation very seriously, and do a great job of protecting our natural resources. The overreach of the EPA by implementing the WOTUS rule is just too much and we are glad to see the federal court support our concerns.”

Stockgrowers Re-affirm support for COOL – Call on Congress to resist language that weakens labels

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Board of Directors met last week and voted unanimously to re-affirm member developed policy calling for Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling. The Stockgrowers Association called on Congress and the Senate to reject recent proposals that would seek to make the program voluntary or repeal the labels completely.

“We will not support any effort that repeals or weakens COOL,” said Bob Fortune, President of SD Stockgrowers Association. “South Dakota Stockgrowers has always worked to ensure that our customers know where their food comes from and we will not compromise that position.”

After the WTO ruled against the United States’ labeling program, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced a bill to repeal COOL on all beef, pork and poultry products, but has been unable to secure enough votes to move the bill forward. At the same time, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced legislation that would repeal COOL on those products even though labels and poultry and ground beef and pork were not included in the WTO ruling. Stabenow’s proposal would allow the Secretary of USDA to implement a voluntary label on some USA raised meat products.

“Repealing COOL is unacceptable to our members, and we believe that the voluntary COOL proposal is as bad as a repeal. Our producers have no way to compel packers to use a voluntary labels. We’ve had voluntary COOL before and it didn’t work.”

“Now, congress seems ready to throw out COOL rather than stand up and defend our laws,” Fortune continued. “Stockgrowers continues to insist on mandatory COOL labels, and we ask Senator Thune and Senator Rounds to defend our labels and uphold COOL as a mandatory program.”

The World Trade Organization ruled against the United States’ labeling program after Canada and Mexico filed claims that COOL discriminates against imported products. The Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) will now enter into arbitration process to discuss settlement of the complaint. Already the USTR has countered Canada’s claim of $3.6 billion in damages by releasing their own report that damages may only be as high as $90 million. The arbitration process will formally meet in Geneva, Switzerland on September 15 and 16.