South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, joins with the National Farmers Union organization in stating his extreme disappointment over the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) decision to allow importation of fresh and chilled beef from regions of Brazil and Argentina which have a history of Foot-and-Mouth Disease.
"I cannot imagine how APHIS could make such a ruling. This move has potentially devastating consequences for American family farmers and ranchers," said Sombke, also a fourth-generation Conde cattle producer. "I have toured these countries and witnessed first-hand how their health standards fall short of the health standards required of, and implemented by, U.S. cattle producers.
South Dakota Farmers Union is disappointed with the June 10 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL).
"The National Farmers Union President said it best, this was a 'disappointing, knee-jerk overreaction'" said Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union President, quoting NFU President, Roger Johnson.
Moving forward, Sombke urges the U.S. Senate to continue its thoughtful handling of the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute. "We are working with Rep. Noem to ensure that our members, South Dakota's farmers, ranchers and consumers don't lose COOL completely," Sombke said. "We are positioning ourselves to fight another day - which is better than having no ground for COOL at all.
South Dakota Farmers Union Celebrates the Kolousek Farm Family
Celebrating a century of service to South Dakota's farm and ranch families, throughout 2015, South Dakota Farmers Union will highlight members who farm or ranch with their families each month. For the months of May and June, South Dakota Farmers Union features the Kolousek family who raise cattle and farm near Wessington Springs.
by Lura Roti, for South Dakota Farmers Union
Shadowing an engineer for a few days his sophomore year of college was all the exposure Scott Kolousek needed to realize he would be happier building a career on his family's Wessington Springs cattle and crop farm.
"That experience saved me a lot of time pursuing the wrong degree. I quickly figured out that I didn't want an office job, so I switched degrees and graduated with a General Agriculture degree from South Dakota State University," says the fifth generation farmer.
His dad, Dick, also an SDSU graduate, can relate. In 1976, he returned to farm with his dad, Pete, and brother, Raymond. "I enjoy the independence farming provides. I'm able to make my own decisions, work in the fresh air and watch crops and calves grow - this has been a good career for me - so much better than an office job."
South Dakota Sheep Producers Raise High Quality Wool & Improve Rangeland
By Lura Roti for South Dakota Farmers Union
"There is nothing cuter than a baby lamb," Tammy Basel says as she tears down the last of her lambing pens and walks through a cloud of newly shorn ewes surrounded by their babies.
Following in the footsteps of her grandmother, homesteader, Carrie Wilcox Funell, the fourth-generation South Dakota sheep producer, grew up caring for the flock, which, along with quality meat, has been bred to produce superior wool. "The wool from my sheep is the finest quality and is used for military uniforms - I guess that's one way I give back to my country is through the wool I produce for uniforms."
Farmers Union Camp Prepares Generations of Leaders
Growing up, chores and fieldwork kept Lorrie Hanson busy on his family's Claremont farm during the summer months. Farmers Union Camp was one of the few exceptions.
"I couldn't wait for camp. I developed friendships I still have today; plus, as I got more involved and served on the Junior Advisory Council, I gained valuable leadership skills which have served me well as an adult and single dad," explains the 37-year-old father of five.
Farmers Union Urges Noem to Speak Out Against Repeal of COOL
A bill to repeal Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is expected to be on the House floor next week. South Dakota Farmers Union urges Representative Kristi Noem to speak out against the repeal of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL).
"For the rights of South Dakota's farmers, ranchers and consumers, we ask Noem to take a stand and speak out, on the House floor, against the House Bill that would repeal COOL," said Doug Sombke, South Dakota Farmers Union President and a fourth-generation Conde cattle producer.