The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association hosted their annual Legislative day, and mixer in Pierre Tuesday, January 16. The day featured discussion led by School and Public Lands Commissioner Ryan Brunner, State Veterinarian Dr. Dusty Oedekoven, Department of Game Fish and Parks Secretary Kelly Hepler, and South Dakota Department of Agricultural Secretary Mike Jaspers. The Stockgrowers members also had the chance to share their legislation of interest, and hear from Senators Ryan Maher, Jason Frerichs and Brock Greenfield, and Representatives Lee Qualm and Kent Peterson.
“As the legislative session kicks off we always enjoy getting as many members as we can down to Pierre, to discuss with those that make decisions for agriculture in South Dakota,” said Silvia Christen, Executive Director for the Stockgrowers. “I’m really pleased with the turnout of members who were able to join us.”
Following the presentations and discussion, Gary Deering, Stockgrowers President, brought the board together to make decisions that will give direction on various legislative issues.
Stockgrowers’ lobbyist, Jeremiah Murphy said, “It’s great to have the Board, and members in Pierre at the beginning of session. I think it’s valuable for our folks to meet with legislators early in the process, and internally it’s very helpful for me to get direction from the Board on the issues I’ll be working through the session on the Stockgrowers behalf.”
That evening the Stockgrowers provided heavy hors devours for a mixer which was attended by most legislators, department heads, and other leaders in South Dakota. Much discussion, and a few laughs were shared, as lawmakers, and Stockgrower members discussed issues, and renewed friendships on into the evening.
“This is becoming a can’t-miss event for livestock producers and legislators,” said Deering.
“We have hosted this for many years, and every year it seems to get better. I heard from many legislators, that our mixer is one of their favorites, becoming something they look forward to every year! It is just a great way for everybody to get to know each other, and have lawmakers hear first hand, what issues are important to us and why.” Deering continued.
With nearly 700 bills rumored to be introduced, the 2018 session could prove to be a busy one. The SD Stockgrowers have many they are watching closely. Oil and gas mediation, non-meandered waters, and brand proposals, are among the many bills that will keep them moving this session.
First year board member Zeb Husted, from Harold, SD, commented after the mixer, “The South Dakota Stockgrowers is an association that has been important to my family for a long time, and I’m very proud to be part of it. Evenings like this, are not only fun, but it gives me a chance to share with lawmakers issues that are important for me and other young producers in South Dakota”.
Christen reminds producers that, “The Stockgrowers, look forward to hearing from our members and making sure they are informed about our work. We will host a conference call at 6:30am Mountain Time, every Wednesday morning during legislative session, for anybody who wants to join us. Do not hesitate to call the office, or our leadership, for the happenings in Pierre, and if you are in Rapid City for the Stock Show be sure to stop by our booth, and visit!”