Delegates at SD Farm Bureau convention vote down industrial hemp resolution

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Farm Bureau is having their annual convention this weekend, and an industrial hemp resolution came up during the delegate session of the convention.

“Our delegates had a resolution sent in by a county to support and promote the production of industrial hemp, and our delegates voted that down,” South Dakota Farm Bureau President Scott VanderWal said. “So we’re not going to be supporting it, but we also at this time won’t oppose it outright.”

“Our delegates are not taking a stance right now,” South Dakota Farm Bureau Vice President Jeffery Gatzke said. “We have currently no policy in our policy book on industrial hemp, period. So we don’t have a stance on for raising and manufacturing industrial hemp or against it.”

He says delegates aren’t eager to move quickly.

“Can we have the financial backing to regulate it, is our state ready for it? I think that’s a lot of it,” Gatzke said. “Is this something that we want to jump into. I think our delegates are pretty cautious on this issue, and so I think that’s why they voted it down.”

Proposed resolutions are reviewed by the delegates.

“The ones that pass, if they’re a state resolution, will be in our book for us to work with the legislature on,” VanderWal said.

Charles Mix County delegate Lyle Nepodal supported the resolution on industrial hemp.

“It’s an option, and as farmers and ranchers, with the economies the way they are, we need all the options we can get,” Nepodal said.

Clay and Union County delegate Marilyn Jensen did not support the industrial hemp resolution.

“As a health educator, I don’t know if there’s enough information that we have right now,” Jensen said.

Lawmakers tried to establish an industrial hemp program in the 2019 legislative session. It passed, but Gov. Kristi Noem vetoed it. The legislature is set to take up the issue in the 2020 session. In a September commentary in the Wall Street Journal, Noem said if the question returns this year, she’ll veto it once again.

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