SDFU President Calls Proposed Cuts to Ag Research, Education 'Alarming'
South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) President Doug Sombke says Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s (R-S.D.) proposed budget cuts will harm the agriculture industry not only this year, but for years to come.
“The true impact of these cuts on our state’s economy is alarming,” Sombke said. “If the governor’s cuts go through it would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars would be cut from the Extension Service, agricultural research stations, and academic programs. It would have long term effects on our state’s number one industry.”
Sombke is urging South Dakota lawmakers to work on more sustainable solutions for the state’s budget problems rather than cutting vital services, education, and jobs.
“The governor isn’t just cutting the budget,” Sombke said. “What we need to realize is that he wants to cut people’s jobs. He wants to cut agricultural research that has helped us grow more corn, soybeans, and other commodities on less ground. I understand that our state needs to balance its budget, but we didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we shouldn’t get out of it overnight by putting more people in the unemployment line and cutting research that will help us grow our economy.”
The cuts will also have a negative impact on 4-H, an educational program run through the Extension Service. Sombke says we need to continue to educate our young people about agriculture and its impact on our economy.
“The young people involved in 4-H are tomorrow’s farmers and ranchers. If we make more cuts to these important educational opportunities our agriculture industry will suffer in the future,” Sombke said. “What we need in this state is tax reform. We must find new revenue sources. We can’t continue to make cuts across the board to services that are vital to the agricultural industry and to all of us.”