Posts for February 2015

Youth Learn Legislative Process during 3-Day Trip to Pierre

February 17, 2015

Youth Learn Legislative Process during 3-Day Trip to Pierre


HURON, S.D. - When you're 15, politics can be confusing. South Dakota¹s Legislature is now more understandable for the teens who earned their way to attend the Farmers Union Two Year Legislative Award Trip, Feb 3-5, 2015.

"Until we made this trip to Pierre, we didn't understand what the Legislators do here exactly; it's been so interesting to see how it works," said Sammi Murtha, 15, a freshman at Parkston High School.

Her friend, Jennifer Hanson, adds; "It's one thing to read about the Legislative process in school, but by being here in the Capitol we get to see it live,²"says the Britton/Hecla High School freshman.

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Last Modified: 07/07/2015 12:53:46 pm MDT


Mad Cow Disease in Canada Affirms Need for COOL

February 13, 2015

The recent case of Mad Cow disease confirmed in Canada affirms the value of COOL (County-of-Origin-Labeling) to protect Americans’ meat supply, said Doug Sombke South Dakota Farmers Union President.

“Do you really want your lawmakers to repeal a law that tells you where your food comes from? In light of the confirmation of a disease with fatal implications in Canada, it is hard not to support a law that gives consumers basic information on where their food comes from,” Sombke said.

Today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed mad cow disease in a beef cow in Alberta, Canada. To read more about this case, visit South Dakota Farmers Union Facebook page.

South Dakota Farmers Union urges consumers and producers alike to call their representatives today in support of leaving COOL in our federal law. The switchboard to the Capitol is (202) 224-3121.

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Last Modified: 02/13/2015 1:05:43 pm MST


South Dakota Farmers Union, Cattle Producers & Consumers Praise U.S. Dist. Court Decision to Dismiss COOL Lawsuit

February 12, 2015

South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, praised the Feb. 9, 2015 dismissal of the U.S. District Court lawsuit on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), filed by the multinational meatpacking industry and their allies in an attempt to stop the USDA from implementing the very popular labeling law.

"COOL is designed to protect the rights of American cattle producers and consumers. This dismissal ensures the right to know where food is produced," said Doug Sombke, President of S.D. Farmers Union and a fourth generation Conde crop and cattle producer.

The papers ending the long and costly lawsuit were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ending American Meat Institute (AMI) et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture et al., originally filed in July 2013.

"This is a clear and indisputable win for American consumers and producers, and it's a huge relief to know that common-sense labeling laws, like COOL, can prevail in court despite the deep pockets of the multinationals," said Natl. Farmers Union President, Roger Johnson.

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Last Modified: 07/07/2015 12:54:43 pm MDT


South Dakota Farmers Union Praises U.S. Dist. Court Decision to Dismiss COOL Lawsuit

February 10, 2015

HURON, S.D. - South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke praised the Feb. 9, 2015 dismissal of the U.S. District Court lawsuit on Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL), filed by the multinational meatpacking industry and their allies in an attempt to stop the USDA from implementing the very popular labeling law.

 "COOL is designed to protect the rights of American cattle producers and consumers. This dismissal ensures the right to know where food is produced," said Doug Sombke, President of S.D. Farmers Union and a fourth generation, Conde crop and cattle producer.

 The papers ending the long and costly lawsuit were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, ending American Meat Institute (AMI) et al. v. U.S. Department of Agriculture et al., originally filed in July, 2013.

 "This is a clear and indisputable win for American consumers and producers, and it's a huge relief to know that common-sense labeling laws, like COOL, can prevail in court despite the deep pockets of the multinationals," said Natl. Farmers Union President, Roger Johnson.

 The dismissal comes on the heels of the Jan. 22, 2015 release of a new study conducted by Auburn University Professor, Robert Taylor which showed that allegations that COOL depressed prices of Canadian cattle were false. The study not only demonstrated that fed cattle price basis actually declined after COOL went into effect, but also that COOL had no negative impact on imports of slaughter cattle and did not significantly affect imports of those of feeder cattle.

  "The findings of this study are an exciting discovery for U.S. cattle producers who are proud of the meat we produce as well as for the consumers who want to know where their food comes from," Sombke said.

 Sombke explained that this study is completely transparent, unlike the one it debunks. "This study was conducted using mandatory pricing data made public by the packers, whereas the study it contradicts used information that is not available to the public. This raised a lot of suspicion," Sombke said.

 Last week a Canadian delegation comprised of the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Gerry Ritz and members of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, the Canadian Pork Council and the Canadian Meat Council made a lobbying trip to Capitol Hill. Johnson called the trip "their last act of desperation." Johnson urged members of Congress to stand by the popular labeling law - supported by roughly 90 percent of consumers - and urged the Canadians to allow the World Trade Organization to consider the new study and the total body of information and arrive at a decision on its own.

 "If the U.S. Courts are any indication of the trajectory of success of COOL, then American consumers are finally going to be permitted to know where their food comes from without intervention from our chief trade competitors and their multinational allies," Johnson said.

 Call to action

National Farmers Union encourages consumers and cattle producers alike to reach out to Congress and urge them to not be influenced by foreign governments and foreign competitors and leave COOL alone. A link to the Auburn University study can be found at www.nfu.org. The main number to the Hill switch board is 202-224-3121.

  

Link to Preliminary Estimates of the Impacts of U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) on Cattle Trade Study: http://www.nfu.org/images/COOLReport1132015Final.pdf

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Last Modified: 02/10/2015 9:59:39 am MST


S.D. Farmers Union says Renewable Fuels Standard Reform Act Will Negatively Impact SD Farmers, Rural Communities & Ethanol Industry

February 9, 2015


HURON, S.D. - The Renewable Fuels Standard Reform Act released yesterday could have a negative impact on South Dakota's farmers, rural communities and ethanol industry if the recommendations become law, said Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union.

 In the report, it is recommended an end to ethanol subsidies, which are included as part of the current Renewable Fuels Standard.

 "Our South Dakota's farmers and rural communities have benefited greatly from what has been a thriving ethanol industry in our state," Sombke explained. "Especially today, with commodity prices as low as they are, the ability to market corn to local ethanol plants has increased our price per bushel by at least 10 cents. Not to mention the economic impact the ethanol industry has throughout our state."

 Sombke refers to the approximately 1,900 South Dakotans employed by the industry who earn, on average, about $60,000 each year. A 2012 study conducted by the South Dakota Ethanol Producers Association, noted an annual economic impact of about $3.8 billion statewide. Nationally, South Dakota ranks sixth in ethanol production.

 "Ethanol has become a part of the fabric of many rural communities; if they take ethanol subsidies away, it will hurt schools, jobs and not to mention the price of corn. For the EPA to suggest removing subsidies from a clean burning fuel baffles me. Why aren't they also suggesting that Big Oil lose its subsidies?" Sombke asked.

 Sombke's comments echo that of Roger Johnson, President of National Farmers Union.

 Following the Feb. 4, 2015 recommendations to eliminate the corn-based ethanol mandate for biofuel production and restrict overall volume targets; Johnson said, "The elimination of the corn-based ethanol mandate and blend cap will gut the nation's biofuel production, strand existing investment in second generation biofuel production and hurt family farmers, ranchers and rural communities that have experienced much-needed reinvestment from this policy. This is not only a bad step for agriculture, but also is a major setback to the environment and our nation's attempts to manage its carbon emissions. We urge Congress to reject this policy and continue to embrace the vision of a robust renewable fuels industry as a component of this nation's overall energy portfolio."

 To learn more about Farmers Union visit, www.sdfu.org.


Courtesy of SDFU Doug Sombke, President, South Dakota Farmers Union. 


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Last Modified: 02/10/2015 10:22:52 am MST



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