Ag community meets with Rep. Johnson during roundtable

Local News

TURNER COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Action from Washington needs to come sooner, rather than later. 

That’s the message from farmers and members of the ag community who are trying to make the best out of a difficult spring. 

Turner County farmer Ross Plucker calls his herd his livelihood. 

“You try to take care of them as best you can,” Farmer Ross Plucker said. 

That’s why it’s difficult for him to see their food supply running low. 

He’s already sold 36 cows and calves, and he’s down to just three hay bales after his pastureland took a hit from the wet, cold spring.

“They’re going to have to go to pasture tomorrow whether the pasture’s ready or not because that’s all the feed I have left,” Plucker said. 

These are the kinds of stories he and other members of the ag community are trying to put an end to. 

That’s why Turner County Farmer Walt Bones hosted a roundtable with Representative Dusty Johnson Friday. 

“I hope that we’re crying wolf today. I really do. I hope that this perfect storm that seems to be kind of brewing doesn’t happen. But if wait until the middle of the summer or this fall and then all of a sudden think, ‘Oh, my goodness. What are we going to do?’ It’s too late,” Farmer Walt Bones said. 

The group wants to see multiple changes, including accessing forage crops sooner. 

“You know right now crop insurance rules make it so you can’t readily grab some of those cover crops for forage until November 1st,” Rep. Dusty Johnson said. 

Representative Johnson and the group want to see the date moved up. 

“We do not want a widespread selloff in South Dakota. We want to make sure we’re able to keep as much of that value as much of that beef and dairy value in the state as we can. This has hundreds of millions of dollars of impact to South Dakota,” Johnson said. 

It’s stressful time to say the least, but like many, Plucker will keep moving forward. 

“We’ll survive. We’ll get through it. We always do,” Plucker said. 

Rep. Johnson says another priority is looking at ways for more farmers to take part in the Market Facilitation Program, which helps producers who have been hurt by the trade war. 

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