One of the state’s summer studies this year could focus on agriculture research. Members of the Senate Ag committee plan to propose a study on developing ag research opportunities in the state, as a way to improve economic development. Senator Jason Frerichs says the ag industry deserves respect and focus for development, but he says he doesn’t believe that’s happening through appropriations. Other committee members raised concerns about agriculture not being selected for a summer study because it’s not “sexy” enough or on the cutting edge of issues. Senator Mike Vehle says research needs to focus on broader issues.
“Agriculture is our number one industry, but on the other side, all economic development is important to this state. We should talk about research in general. What are our colleges doing? Not just SDSU, but the University of South Dakota is starting some new research parks, maybe this should be a total what are we doing with research. My problem with some of the research we’re doing is we do the research and we’ve got this neat, groovy stuff and we’ve got it in a book and we put it in a shelf, and there it sits. We gotta turn that research, whatever it is, into a business that goes out and makes that value for South Daktoa,” Vehle says.
Committee members say legislators do a lot of talking, but actually need to be the leadership of the state. Members agreed on a proposal for general research with an emphasis on agriculture for a possible summer study.