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U.S. Senate Republicans outline their farm bill framework • South Dakota Searchlight

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U.S. Senate Republicans outline their farm bill framework • South Dakota Searchlight


WASHINGTON — Republicans on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry on Tuesday released their framework for a new five-year farm bill that will set the policy and funding levels for key food, agriculture and conservation programs.

The top Republican on the committee, Arkansas Sen. John Boozman, laid out GOP priorities with reporters during a Tuesday morning briefing prior to publication of the framework.

Farm bill advances from U.S. House panel but faces a tough row to hoe

Those priorities include an increase in reference prices for all covered commodities; increased spending for conservation programs by pulling funds from climate legislation passed in 2022; “cost-neutral” updates to the formula that calculates benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP; increased crop insurance levels; and reporting requirements for foreign purchase and ownership of farmland.

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“Hopefully, we can take all of these together and build on that so we can actually get a farm bill passed,” Boozman said.

The GOP measure also doubles funding for land grant universities for research on topics such as fertilizer application, pesticides and labor, Boozman said.

Boozman said the investment in research will help with “getting agriculture into this century.”

Boozman said the framework will also boost crop insurance by increasing support for the Supplemental Coverage Option to 80% and the coverage level to 90% for more than 55 specialty and row crops.

He added that the Senate’s framework is similar to the one House Republicans put forth.

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“Following on the House Committee on Agriculture’s bipartisan passage of (a) farmer-focused farm bill, we are putting forth a framework that exhibits a shared common ground with our Democrat counterparts on several key priorities and offers a path forward in the places where we differ,” Boozman said.

House action

The House Committee on Agriculture passed its version of the farm bill out of committee in late May, and while four Democrats joined Republicans in approving the bill, nearly two dozen Democrats were against it.

The House version of the farm bill is expected to cost $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, but there is currently no cost estimate for the Senate GOP version. There is also no bill text for the Senate version.

The current farm bill expires on Sept. 30, and if Congress doesn’t pass a new one, an extension would be needed of policies enacted under the 2018 farm bill.

SD’s Rep. Johnson defends criticized provisions in farm bill draft

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Boozman said he hopes Congress doesn’t have to pass an extension, but if so, he expects to get the farm bill done during the lame-duck session after the November elections.

Like the House GOP version, the Senate legislation would divert funds from climate-related legislation passed in 2022 for conservation projects that would remove some climate-smart guardrails, which has drawn objections from Democrats.

Boozman said taking off the guardrails would “make it more useful.”

Nutrition programs

The Senate Republican farm bill framework would not make any changes to benefits and eligibility for SNAP, but it curtails an update tool used by the Thrifty Food Plan.

“The Republican framework restores Congress’ constitutional spending authority by returning to a cost-neutral and transparent process for future five-year reevaluations of the (Thrifty Food Plan) based on the most up-to-date consumption data and dietary guidance, all while ensuring an annual inflationary adjustment,” according to the framework.

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In 2018, the farm bill allowed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reevaluate the Thrifty Food plan and in 2021 the agency updated it to reflect the cost of living, which led to a 21% increase in SNAP benefits. About 12.8% of U.S. households were food-insecure in 2022, according to USDA. More than 41 million people use SNAP benefits.

The Senate’s version reverts to a “cost-neutral” model, Boozman said, which is similar to the House Republican version. Democrats have already opposed those changes.

The Democratic chair of the Senate committee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, released a section-by-section version of the Democrats’ farm bill in early May. That version would boost eligibility for SNAP benefits, but there is no legislative text for that bill either.

USDA chief voices ‘deep concerns’ over U.S. House GOP farm bill’s nutrition cuts

In a statement, Stabenow said the framework “follows the same flawed approach” as the House version from Republicans.

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“It makes significant cuts to the family safety net that millions of Americans rely on and walks away from the progress we have made to address the climate crisis,” she said.

Foreign ownership of farmland

Limiting foreign ownership of U.S. farmland has garnered bipartisan support in Congress, as states have passed their own laws on the issue.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has said the biggest foreign land ownership comes from Canada, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, but there is concern in Congress about ownership by Russia, China, Iran and North Korea — which own less than 400,000 acres of land.

Lawmakers are pushing for federal reporting requirements in the Senate GOP farm bill under Title XII, the miscellaneous section.

“This modernization will help ensure compliance with reporting requirements and provides a clearer picture of the scope and scale of the issues foreign ownership of U.S. farmland poses to our country,” according to the framework.

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South Dakota

South Dakota amends prohibition on Medicaid work requirements

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South Dakota amends prohibition on Medicaid work requirements


RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) – South Dakota lawmakers want to add work requirements for able-minded and able-bodied recipients of Medicaid.

Republican Representative Tony Venhuizen said their proposed amendment would allow the state to consider a work requirement concerning Medicaid Expansion.

While the amendment would still need federal approval and to go through the legislative process, the state government is removing the work prohibition from the state constitution.

“We would be able to have exceptions for people with disabilities, people who are sick, people who are undergoing cancer treatment, mothers of young children, but this is just about making sure people who are able to care of themselves and who are able to work are incentivized to do that,” Venhuizen stated.

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Venhuizen also said that social programs are a lift-up during tough times, and should not be a way of life.

The amendment was passed by both the state senate and house, 28-to-4 and 63-to-7 respectively. The only votes opposed came from Democrat Representatives and Senators. The amendment will be on the November 5 general election ballot.

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Anoka County deputy awarded 'Officer of the Year' for off-duty actions in South Dakota

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Anoka County deputy awarded 'Officer of the Year' for off-duty actions in South Dakota


The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association awarded the the 2024 Officer of the Year award to Anoka County Deputy Tanner Shipman because of an off-duty intervention during a shootout in South Dakota last August.

Shipman was on vacation in Sturgis, South Dakota, in 2023 when he intervened during a shootout between an attendee and South Dakota state trooper at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, according to the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.

He assisted the trooper in detaining the shooter and assisted with medical care afterward.

Anoka County Sheriff Brad Wise said it wasn’t surprising Shipman instantly helped out and it’s the highest honor to be recognized for this award because it comes from law enforcement peers.

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“Deputy Shipman is an inspiration to law enforcement, as well as all in our community,” Wise said.

MPPOA will formally honor Shipman on Saturday.



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Article lists South Dakota last among each U.S. state in safety for LGBT+ individuals

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Article lists South Dakota last among each U.S. state in safety for LGBT+ individuals


RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) – A website focused on home security and community safety, Safe Home, recently released rankings of each U.S. state and the District of Columbia based on safety for LGBT+ community members. The list and accompanying article have spread around social media this week, and particularly in South Dakota. The Mount Rushmore State ranks dead last according to Safe Home’s criteria.

Rapid City Native American Two-Spirit Activist Monique “Muffie” Mousseau agrees.

“The Governor’s office, until they educate themselves with all of these beautiful, wonderful colors and why they exist,” Mousseau said while holding up a pride flag-themed notebook. “I really don’t feel like this state is going to move up the ranks.”

Mousseau’s organization, Uniting Resilience, advocates for members of the Native American LGBT+ community and environmental issues. Since marrying her wife 18 years ago, she said she has seen positive and negative moments for people like her in South Dakota, but there has not been a significant increase or decrease in quality of life.

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Safe Home’s criteria for ranking states in terms of safety for LGBT+ individuals include state laws and recent hate crime statistics. South Dakota reported 16 sexual orientation-related hate crimes and one gender orientation-related hate crime from 2020 through 2022 per the Department of Justice.

Particular laws that Safe Home’s writers cited as reasons for South Dakota’s bottom ranking and “F” grade include including criminalization of exposing others to HIV, preferential adoption policies favoring heterosexual couples, bans on individuals using opposite-sex bathrooms in public schools, and bans on gender transition medical care for children.

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