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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 Applaud Thune’s Drought Data Legislation

SD Stockgrowers Applaud Thune’s Drought Data Legislation   


South Dakota Stockgrowers Association applaud Senator John Thune for introducing the Improved Soil Moisture and Precipitation Monitoring Act of 2018 this week. As the title indicates, the legislation seeks to improve monitoring and consistency of rainfall data used by various USDA agencies in determining eligibility for drought resources, and grazing conditions on federally managed lands.

According to Linda Gilbert, a rancher from Buffalo, “We really appreciate that Senator Thune took the time to meet with producers during his visit to Rapid City, and we are excited to see this legislation. More reporting stations and a consistent method for analyzing it will address one of the big concerns we’ve had data being used by USDA when it comes to our emergency and insurance programs. We thank the Senator for his attention and action on this important issue. This is a huge step in the right direction.”


“It’s great that Senator Thune acted so quickly after we talked with him,” said Mark Tubbs, SD Stockgrowers Director from Edgemont. “The last two years have been a devastating drought for us here in northwest Fall River County,and due to the lack of accurate rainfall data and discrepancies between agencies within USDA, we haven’t been able to collect our drought insurance, or have access to drought disaster programs even during the worst of the drought. I hope that this legislation can help us solve some of the frustrations we’ve had.”

“The ongoing issue of rainfall reporting, and the collection and analysis of rainfall data is a serious issue for farmers and ranchers. We thank Senator Thune for listening and taking our input to put forward a bill that seeks real solutions,”  said Silvia Christen, SD Stockgrowers Executive Director.

According to a press release from Senator John Thune, the Improved Soil Moisture and Precipitation Monitoring Act would:

Grant the secretary of agriculture the discretion to improve soil moisture monitoring by increasing the number of monitoring stations or by utilizing other appropriate cost-effective soil moisture measuring devices;

  • Increase the number of precipitation and soil moisture monitoring stations in any area that has experienced extreme or exceptional drought for any six month period since the beginning of 2016, including South Dakota, and authorizes a $5 million per year appropriation to do so;
  • Require USDA to develop standards to integrate data from citizen scientists and to collect soil moisture data; and
  • Require USDA agencies to use consistent precipitation monitoring data and drought assessment across the programs that USDA administers.

SD Stockgrowers Call for Enactment of PRIME Act

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association is calling on South Dakota’s Congressional delegation to pass the Prime Act, or similar policies. In a letter to Senators Thune, and Rounds, and Representative Noem, the Stockgrowers asked for their support of The Prime Act, or similar legislation to allow sales of meat products at the retail level, using a state health and safety inspection, versus having to wait for federal inspection on those products.

“The current federal law already states that all state meat inspections, must be at least equal to federal requirements, so demanding a federal inspection in order to market our products seems redundant, and ridiculous,” says Stockgrowers Trade Committee Chairman, Ty Littau of Carter, SD.

The Stockgrowers have long been supportive of being able to differentiate their products, and feel the consumers, especially South Dakotans, would prefer their products, over those of unknown origins. They also feel The Prime Act will help the consumers identify, a locally raised product, generating more demand for their members products. SD Stockgrowers Association believes The Prime Act will lead to more options, and give producers more opportunities to market their cattle and beef.

The Stockgrowers also feel it can lead to ways local ranchers can help their communities. “Many times we have members who wish to donate beef to local schools or places in need, but due to the lack of finding federally inspected locker plants they run into a road block, and are unable to do so. The Prime Act will not only benefit producers, but will also benefit their local communities,” says SDSGA President Gary Deering.

The Prime Act is not a new idea. It has been tossed around on the Hill many times, but unfortunately has never gained much traction by the industry, or by those in Congress. With the increasing demand by consumers for knowing where food comes from, and as people seek less government control, the Stockgrowers believe that the Prime Act should be revisited and passed.   They feel that this is common sense legislation that will provide support for livestock producers, will give the consumers a chance to buy locally, and helps local locker plants, all of which will lead to an economic boost throughout many small communities  .

“The Prime Act is a win for many throughout our country, helping so many, hurting none. But, as important, it will not cost anything, and in fact, would even save our government money. That is the type of conservative legislation that should be passed by Congress,” adds Littau.

The Stockgrowers urges ranchers, consumers, locker plants, and communities across the nation to get behind The Prime Act, and get their congressional delegation to support the Prime Act.

Deering stresses, “It is not that often with legislation that we have an opportunity to do so much, to benefit so many people, and the Prime Act is an opportunity to do just that. Get in touch with the Stockgrowers office for more information on what can be done to help with this.”

South Dakota Stockgrowers Association can be reached at 605-342-0429 or by emailing office@southdakotastockgrowers.org.