Together with 270 farmers and ranchers from across the nation, South Dakotans helped conduct hundreds of targeted meetings with nearly every Congressional and Senatorial official on Capitol Hill.
The meetings focused on the following issues:
- Gathering support behind the Senate bill supporting voluntary Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL);
- Opposing any legislative changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) while urging Congress to reject the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s flawed proposal for 2014-2016 ethanol blending targets because they are well below the statutory limits;
- Urging Congress to reject the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), to restore full trade and tourism with Cuba, and urging support of a Senate Agriculture Appropriations Amendment that requires a comprehensive risk assessment plan be in place before resuming trade with parts of Argentina and Brazil that have a history of Foot and Mouth Disease outbreaks.
Farmers Union members also met with U.S. Department of Agriculture leaders and key White House staff.
“This was an amazing opportunity to visit about our agriculture operations and how the decisions made here in D.C. impact our farms and ranches in South Dakota,” said Tammy Basel, a fourth generation South Dakota rancher who raises sheep and cattle near Union Center with her husband Dallis [“South Dakotans Bring Farm & Ranch Issues to Congress During National Farmers Union Annual Legislative Fly,” South Dakota Farmers Union, 2015.09.22].
Farmers Union got Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s attention. Back in June, Rep. Noem backed Farmers Union’s position on COOL but worked hard to pass TPP, which only weakens our ability to inspect and label imported food. Rep. Noem appears to be on the Farmers Union track on RFS, opposing the EPA’s proposed cuts in ethanol requirements.
If her stand with Farmers Union is half-and-half, Rep. Noem will always wholeheartedly stand for pictures:
Always great to see Farmers Union—”always”, Rep. Noem? Since taking office, you have declined to see Farmers Union at their State Fair debates, saying Farmers Union is unfair and partisan. I can only assume that Rep. Noem’s pleasantry past week means we can count on a fine face-to-face between Rep. Noem and challenger Paula Hawks at the State Fair in 2016! We could dedicate a whole hour of debate just to TPP! Whoo-hoo!
But this assumes Paula Hawks doesn’t think Farmers Union is too partisan. Check that SDFU press release again: Tammy Basel?! She’s a Union Center Republican! Can any Democrat take a chance attending a debate hosted by a group that would let a Republican speak for it in Washington?!