Celebrating agriculture

Sen. John Thune

Agriculture is the lifeblood of South Dakota, and it is a heritage deeply rooted in our state. You can’t go far in South Dakota without encountering some sign of our bustling agriculture sector; whether it’s fields of corn and soybeans, ranches teeming with cattle or freight trains and trucks transporting agricultural products to market. During National Agriculture Week, we have a lot to celebrate.
National Agriculture Week, which we celebrate March 17-23, is an opportunity to celebrate America’s farmers and ranchers. I consider it a privilege to represent South Dakota’s hardworking farmers and ranchers in the U.S. Senate. These men and women, often with the support of their entire families, work hard to feed our nation and the world, and I’m proud to be able to work with them on policies that support their important work. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am able to shape agriculture policy, and this work often begins and ends with South Dakota’s producers, whose input over the years has been invaluable.
Unfortunately, farmers and ranchers are currently facing some significant headwinds. Farm incomes have decreased, inflation continues to strain producers’ budgets and agriculture exports are down. In addition to continuing to advocate for a strong farm bill that provides producers with the support they need to overcome these challenges, I’m also working to improve market conditions for South Dakota’s agricultural products.
South Dakota ranchers produce high-quality beef, and, in South Dakota, we take our beef seriously. Our current beef labeling system, however, has long allowed imported beef that is neither born nor raised in the United States, but is simply finished here, to be labeled as “Product of the U.S.A.” Like a lot of South Dakotans, I want to be sure the beef I’m buying at the local grocery store is coming from producers in our state, or at least from the United States. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
I have long advocated for a return to mandatory country of origin labeling for beef. I’m encouraged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently finalized a regulation allowing only products born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States to bear the voluntary “Product of the U.S.A.” or “Made in the U.S.A.” label. But I will continue to push for my American Beef Labeling Act to require mandatory country of origin labeling for beef to ensure full transparency that benefits beef producers and consumers alike.
Agriculture is part of our way of life in South Dakota, and I’ll continue to work with our farmers and ranchers to ensure our agriculture sector remains strong for current and future generations.

User login