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2023 Farm Bill concerns impacting South Dakota

Brent Duerre

Federal legislators set majority of the legal framework for agricultural and food policy every five years by adjusting the farm bill.

The 2023 Farm Bill has been delayed, and South Dakota farmers have concerns.

The farm bill is a piece of legislation that governs multiple agriculture and food program topics. The bill was last updated in 2018, making this year a year for adjustments.

Issues within the U.S. House, however, delayed a decision. Congress extended the deadline by a year to Sept. 30, 2024.

South Dakota Farm Bureau president Scott VanderWal said the safety net provided by the farm bill is his organizations primary concern.

“The highest priority is to maintain the viability of the crop insurance program. Our members, and just about every ag group I can think of say, ‘do no harm to crop insurance’ because it’s such a vital program and it works," Vanderwal said. "So, that’s really priority number one, and then of course the commodity title is very important as well, for the safety net.”
Aside from crop insurance, the farm bill also addresses disaster assistance, farm loans, conservation programs, and research grants.

VanderWal is among a group of South Dakota farm supporters who take an annual trip to Washington D.C. to advocate for farmers and ranchers’ current needs and desires for the farm bill.

Keith Alverson is a corn and soybean farmer near Chester. He agrees with VanderWal’s primary concerns.

“From a farm policies perspective, crop insurance is the most important thing for me as a producer. The things that come out of the conservation title, CSP, Equip, are two of the programs within there that have been pretty popular in South Dakota and have been really successful at what they have done, in my opinion,” said Alverson.   

U.S. Sen. John Thune sits on the Senate Ag committee. He said the extension provides certainty for farmers but agrees that a multi-year reauthorization would be better.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.