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Noem eyes prime farm bill spot

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news Mitchell, 57301
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

While she did not outright declare her pending membership on the long-awaited farm bill conference committee, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., essentially confirmed a reporter’s question about her status.

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Rumors and reports that she will be among a dozen House members appointed by Speaker John Boehner are “fairly accurate,” Noem said during a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon. She is a member of the House Agriculture Committee.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D.  The speaker’s office is expected to release the list Friday.

“The speaker’s office has asked us not to release any details until tomorrow,” Noem said Thursday.

“I don’t want to do anything to jeopardize my potential involvement in being part of the ongoing discussions.”

Then, after another question specifically about her name being on a list: “Some of those lists seem fairly accurate, but we’ll have to see what the list is when we get it tomorrow from the speaker’s office.”

Earlier this week, Noem said that Boehner assured her that appointment of House conferees was imminent after months marked by long periods of inaction and bursts of activity.

Noem’s involvement in negotiations to work out differences between the House and Senate is likely to take on an added level of significance in the wake of the snowstorm that recently struck western South Dakota and killed scores of cattle. Noem authored the livestock disaster section of the farm bill passed in the House, and her membership on the conference committee would allow her to directly argue against weakening it.

Noem wrote a provision to add three livestock programs — the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Livestock Forage Program and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program — and to make them retroactive to when they expired in 2011. In addition, Noem’s legislation would strengthen the programs going forward by giving them a baseline budget.

The details of those livestock programs could make a great deal of difference to ranchers who continue to discover dead cattle after the storm that struck on Friday. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard has speculated the numbers of dead cattle are in the thousands and probably the tens of thousands, although the final numbers have not been tallied.

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