Ag Secretary says biggest challenge will be funding programs

PIERRE, S.D. (WNAX) – The 2020 South Dakota legislative session starts Jan. 14. South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Kim Vanneman says beyond the discussion about legalizing hemp production, she doesn’t see any other big legislative hot buttons for agriculture this year. She says the biggest challenge will just be funding programs.

Farm groups fought hard last year to avoid any increase in fees on agricultural inputs and to keep some of the current sales tax exemptions. However, Vanneman says livestock producers will see an increase in the fee on feed.

Farm groups are concerned lawmakers may look at agriculture to help meet the budget shortfall, but Vanneman says so far, she’s not aware of any proposed increases in other fees.

Lawmakers are preparing to bring back a bill to legalize hemp production in the state and the Hemp Task Force will be presenting the findings of their summer study to the legislature and Governor Noem early in the session.