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Candidates for U.S. House Noem And Hawks Debate Issues Include Agriculture Policy

Kealey Bultena

Two candidates for South Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives squared off during the Sioux Falls Rotary debate.
The hour long debate touched on many issues facing the country, including national security, the economy, and education. The conversation also turned to South Dakota’s number one industry… agriculture.
Democratic challenger Paula Hawks has spent much of the campaign for U.S. House criticizing Representative Kristi Noem’s move from the House Agriculture committee to the Ways and Means Committee.
Hawks stuck to her message during the Sioux Falls Rotary Club debate. Hawks says agriculture needs to be the number one priority of South Dakota’s representative.
“We need a strong farm bill that’s going to protect the interest of small family farmers and ranchers in South Dakota. That includes reinstating country of origin labeling. That includes broadening that CRP and conservation programs back out. It involves making sure that we’re making decisions about agricultural commodities that protect our producers first, and that includes being there at the table to make those decisions for that Farm Bill.”
Hawks says farmers and ranchers are suffering from high costs and low returns.
Representative Noem says she left the Ag committee once the four year Farm Bill passed in 2014 to better influence tax policy. Despite leaving the Ag committee, Noem says she remains committed to protecting farmers and having a cheap food policy.
Noem says the farm bill is also about national security.
“If we no longer grow our own food in this country and allow another country to provide that food for us, then they control us. So, a farm bill’s purpose is to have a safety net there. So, if we have an economic downturn, low commodity prices, or if we see disasters happen around the country, crop insurance is there to provide that safety net to make sure we don’t lose all of our farmer’s in one year.”
Noem says she plans on working to make the next farm bill better than the last one. That includes fixing several programs that she says weren’t implemented correctly.

To hear the entire Noem-Hawks debate hosted by the Sioux Falls Rotary, click play below.

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