The drought in South Dakota is making a lot of farmers uneasy at this year’s Dakotafest in Mitchell. Wednesday, they got a chance to air their concerns to the state’s congressional delegation from Washington DC. 

It’s the prefect storm brewing for many South Dakota farmers hit by high costs, low crop prices and now a drought.

South Dakota Senator John Thune says, “I don’t think there’s any question that agriculture is one of the most challenging and most unpredictable ways to make a living. Some years you’ve got green fields and high prices and strong investment and some years you’ve got drought.”

That’s where the farm bill comes in. Congresswoman Kristi Noem says farmers are asking for improvements.

South Dakota congresswoman Kristi Noem says, “I think everybody is asking for more conservation programs that they can participate in and plusing up the CRP program, but that we also need to continue to look at crop insurance and make sure that it’s there and that it’s stable and that it covers the crops that that we need.”

The farmers here are also giving their congressional delegation an earful about that what they say is over regulation by federal bureaucrats. 

South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds says, “Waters of the United States, which is a definition that the regulators have tried to place on the American farmers, is really going to impact their bottom line and even more, that it’s taking away their ability to actually farm the way they have for generations. That’s in the courts right now, but the Corps of Engineers has been trying to enforce it in certain parts of the country.”

Farmers say that isn’t the only federal regulation they worry about.

President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau Scott VanderWal says, “Also the clean air plan or clean power plan from the Obama administration. It will basically double the electric rates and energy costs, but it has a very negligible effect on the environment according the the EPA’s own numbers.”  

Thune, Rounds and Noem all agree that free trade agreements are also vital to South Dakota farmers who export many of their products overseas.