Like most South Dakotans, I have a personal connection to the land in our state. Working on our farm near Vale and my wife’s family ranch on Elk Creek, South Dakota, shaped the way I see the world and taught me lessons about hard work and perseverance that still guide me today.
Agriculture is our state’s number one industry, generating 20 percent of South Dakota’s economic activity and employing more than 115,000 people.
It’s been said that in South Dakota, agriculture is more than a profession—it’s a way of life. After traveling the state to listen to farmers, ranchers, processors, cooperatives, truckers, and agriculture education instructors, I’ve heard the voices who make up the backbone of that way of life. All of those voices brought together helped build our Growing South Dakota Ag Initiative to support the more than 31,000 farms and ranches across our state.
TOGETHER, WE WILL:
- Enhance transportation infrastructure: In the past eight years, South Dakota has made substantial improvements to our transportation system. Investments in roads, bridges and rail are critical for transporting products to market and delivering inputs. Our team will support the construction of a third rail track at the Wolsey Interchange, the construction of an interchange track at Napa Junction, and the improvement of state-owned rail lines. Each of these investments are covered in detail in my Rail Initiative.
- Support our growing livestock sector: Livestock can expand opportunities for young agricultural producers and add value to our state’s crops. My administration will work to enhance livestock production in South Dakota, including support for best management practices, education, and research.
- Expand value-added agriculture: The Jackley administration will encourage investment in value-added agriculture efforts that process more of our agriculture products in South Dakota. My administration will call for more flexibility in the use of the REDI Fund as well as full utilization of the Value-Added Ag Subfund to provide grants or loans for development, feasibility studies, or marketing. To move agricultural projects past the finish line, we will encourage investment in those entities seeking non-conventional capital to ensure ag projects with regional economic impact can be fully funded.
- Protect low tax principles: I’m a low-tax, limited government conservative, and our state should not be standing in the way of agricultural production. We must hold the line on property taxation and look for ways to reduce the property tax.
- Support advances in ag research and production agriculture: The growing field of precision agriculture is increasing yields, making production more cost effective, and enhancing environmental sustainability. South Dakota producers have led the nation in the use of biotech seeds and other advancements. We will support the expansion of precision ag programs at our state’s universities and tech schools to ensure South Dakota continues to lead in innovation and puts more resources into our rural economy.
- Fight EPA bureaucracy and useless DC regulations: All too often, the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency has been misguided by big government ideas that hurt South Dakota farmers and ranchers. As your attorney general, I sued the Obama administration over Waters of the United States and won, and I will continue to fight against DC regulations from the EPA and the Corps of Engineers that hurt American agriculture.
- Expand access to international markets: Here in South Dakota, we know that trade is extremely important to our ag economy. In 2016, South Dakota exported $454,816,865 in product to Canada and $298,970,249 in product to Mexico. Our meat exports totaled $252,016,044 and our animal feeds exports totaled $249,847,120. As the state’s chief executive, I will not hesitate to call out Washington when their trade policies conflict with South Dakota interests. My administration will also be an advocate for the state’s agricultural sector by leading South Dakota trade delegations to areas with growing economies such as China, South America, and the Pacific Rim to improve trade relations and expand our export opportunities.
- Increase the production and use of biofuels: Biofuel production adds marketing options for soybeans, corn, and other crops grown in the state. I strongly support the Renewable Fuel Standard and oppose EPA efforts to expand the number of RFS small refinery waivers that reduce South Dakota biofuel production. My administration will also work to find opportunities for additional E-15 and E-30 sales.
- Promote natural resources conservation: Conserving land, water and wildlife is beneficial for all South Dakotans. From aggressively fighting pine beetle infestations in the Black Hills to promoting water quality through tax incentives and encouraging investments in wildlife habitat on state and private lands, the Jackley Administration will be an outspoken advocate for best management practices in natural resource conservation.
- Expand agricultural education, internship opportunities, and curriculum: My administration will work with ag educators and employers to provide positive work and education experiences for the next generation of South Dakota’s agricultural leadership. We will support the work of FFA and 4-H in developing real-life agricultural skills for students. Our Department of Agriculture will support a growing State Fair that serves South Dakotans and attracts visitors from around the nation.
When our ag economy is strong, all of South Dakota is strong. Together, we can build the infrastructure, create the value, and generate the capital we need to maximize our ag industry’s competitiveness and provide an even brighter future for rural South Dakota.