Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem and Democratic challenger Matt Varilek repeatedly stressed the need for Congress to pass a new farm bill Wednesday while engaging in spirited disagreements on other topics.
Several hundred people stilled outside a packed tent set up at the Dakotafest Farm Show in Mitchell to hear the candidates spar mostly on agriculture issues during their first debate.
The Senate has passed a farm bill.
The House Agriculture Committee, of which Noem is a member, passed the bill out of committee. But the bill has yet to make it to the House floor.
Noem says she has been working hard to convince House leaders to bring the farm bill to a vote.
Varilek says Noem should be doing more to pressure leadership.