In a week where many committees did not hold meetings, SDFU was hard at work meeting with our Secretaries of State and Agriculture, listening to presentations from our State Veterinarian and Commissioner of School and Public Lands, and preparing testimony on upcoming legislation important to Farmers Union members.
In meeting with Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, we discussed the upcoming campaign finance and ethics proposals SB 53 and SB 54. It should be noted that if HB 1069 (the repeal of IM 22) passes, the bills will have to be adjusted in order to refer to the proper statutes. As a grassroots organization, the initiative and campaigning process or important to SDFU and we met with the Secretary to determine how the bills would interact with Farmers Union policy. That process is still currently underway.
We also met with Secretary of Ag Mike Jaspers to discuss how to address the immediate challenges facing agriculture. In most cases, we can agree that problems boil down to price. How can we improve the price our producers are getting for their products. The simple answer is to find a way to use more of our product here at home. This is a major reason that SDFU so strongly supports the use of Premium E-30 fuel and the implementation of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). If you recall, SDFU attempted to amend state statute to update our COOL language. That bill required retail sellers of beef to provide country of origin in they had access to such information. While that bill narrowly failed to pass committee last year, you might just see it again this session. With Premium E-30, SDFU will continue to work with the Governors Office to expand its use in South Dakota and beyond.
Funding of the ADRDL will most likely be the most contentious issue facing the ag industry this session. Not because there is a debate about the lab's importance, but rather a debate about who should foot the bill. Of course it is the position of SDFU that the State should participate to the tune of 60% of the overall funding. While potential funding sources are difficult to identify, it is hard to ignore the significant funds in the state budget reserve funds. In the upcoming weeks, we will be continuously presenting our position to both new and familiar legislators. Once the bill is dropped, it is expected to be assigned to the Joint Appropriations Committee.
For a recap and update on SDFU tracked legislation stay tuned to your email for your weekly Rural Lobbyist.