Sen. John Thune
Last year's passage of the 2014 farm bill was a significant step forward for South Dakota farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses, as it included critical livestock assistance and a secure crop insurance program. While not perfect, the bill provided important reforms to the previous farm bill to help move ag policy into the 21st century.
Things have changed in our state since 1962. South Dakota's commerce and tourism industries have flourished under the construction of the interstate highway system. Sioux Falls has nearly tripled in size; two state universities moved to Division I, competing in the highest levels of academics and athletics; corn yields have doubled; and no-till farming has made the plow and cultivator obsolete. South Dakota is represented by three members in Congress instead of four, and our lone member of the House is a female.
It is about this time every year that people start planning for new opportunities in the year ahead. Some call them resolutions, but I prefer to call them priorities or goals. With both a new year and a new Republican majority in the Senate, I am eager to work on a number of issues facing our country. With a Republican-controlled Congress and a Democrat White House, there are a number of bipartisan issues we can and should be working together on for the American people.
South Dakota's diverse landscape includes everything from native grasslands and fertile croplands, to forestlands and wetlands. Wetlands are especially prevalent east of the Missouri River in an area known as the Prairie Pothole Region. Farmers and ranchers in the Prairie Pothole Region are familiar with the unique challenges wetlands pose to their operations. In wetter years, seasonal wetlands can prevent crops from being planted or flood crops already planted. These complications are often exacerbated by federal regulations, which restrict how wetlands are managed by farming operations.
Our small businesses in South Dakota and across the country are the backbone of our nation's economy. They produce goods, provide services, and generate revenue that keep our economy growing, provide millions of Americans with quality jobs and keep our nation highly competitive in the global community. South Dakota has become known for its robust business climate, consistently ranking among the top states in the country to do business.
This month we pause to thank and pay tribute to the veterans and active members of the military who have risked life and limb protecting our freedoms. Their selfless service has played a defining role in shaping who we are as South Dakotans, and their leadership on veterans' issues is crucial in guiding the discussion as we seek to provide for those who have answered the call to defend the freedoms of all Americans. The service numbers for our state are remarkable, especially given South Dakota's relatively small population.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota) on Monday announced the release of a new rail service section on his website where South Dakota shippers concerned with inconsistent rail service can find the latest South Dakota rail developments.
As stewards of the land, our state's agriculture producers and property owners take seriously the responsibility of caring for our wide open spaces. Agriculture, hunting and travel are all big business in South Dakota and greatly depend on well-maintained cropland, forestlands and wetlands.
It seems like middle-class Americans just can't catch a break. Over the past five and a half years of the Obama presidency, the price of everything has risen. Tuition prices have soared. Gas prices have almost doubled. Food prices have skyrocketed.
Several weeks ago, stories began to emerge about administrators at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Phoenix falsifying medical records to cover-up delays in care to veterans. The story also highlighted...