RAPID CITY, S.D. — The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in some way.
Farmers and ranchers certainly haven’t been exempt and looked to voice their concerns with legislators.
At the annual South Dakota Farm Bureau Convention, local area farmers and ranchers came together to voice their concerns with lobbyists who will bring the issues to legislators.
“It’s a grass-roots organization here to set policies for farmers and ranchers for what they think, you know, for the benefit for the whole farming and ranching community,” said Scot Eisenbraun, a District 6 Representative for South Dakota Farm Bureau.
Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden made an appearance and relayed what governor Kristi Noem and her team are working toward, including a plan that would help South Dakota ranchers to expand their market of sale. This could potentially help a cattle market that has seen significant loss.
“We have an opportunity to expand our local meat processing in South Dakota,” Rhoden said. “The ‘CIS’ Program (Co-Operative Instate Shipment of Beef), which allows out of state processors to sell beef across state lines, is a program that we think would move the needle a long ways in helping alleviate that situation.”
The program is just another way to provide more opportunities for South Dakota producers.
“Right now meat processors are very busy, so it’s not a bottleneck, it’s not as big of an issue for them, but we’re very excited about opening markets for our producers and for our meat processors and this is a great avenue to do it,” said Hunter Roberts, the Department Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR).
Gov. Noem is also working on a meat processing program for small producers, which Noem and her staff hope would help the producers who have faced an increased demand since the pandemic began.