Dakota Rural Action members questioning merger of departments

PIERRE, S.D. (WNAX) – Dakota Rural Action members are raising questions about Governor Kristi Noem’s decision to merge the state Agriculture Department with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. DRA Chair and Winner area rancher John Harter says they question if the merged body will have the proper experts in place to handle all the duties of both agencies.

He says another concern is that the Environment and Natural Resources Department needs to be a watch dog agency.

Harter says there also must be more public input into this merger decision.

Harter is also concerned that the state Agriculture Department has failed to support policies like Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling and that this merger appears to be a continuation of the state’s focus on the needs and wants of large corporations.