Celebrating farmers and ranchers

By U.S. Sen. John Thune

R-South Dakota

Posted 3/20/24

Agriculture is the lifeblood of South Dakota, and it is a heritage deeply rooted in our state. You can’t go far in South Dakota without encountering some sign of our bustling agriculture …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Celebrating farmers and ranchers


Agriculture is the lifeblood of South Dakota, and it is a heritage deeply rooted in our state. You can’t go far in South Dakota without encountering some sign of our bustling agriculture sector; whether it’s fields of corn and soybeans, ranches teeming with cattle, or freight trains and trucks transporting agricultural products to market.

During National Agriculture Week, we have a lot to celebrate.

National Agriculture Week, which we celebrate March 17-23, is an opportunity to celebrate America’s farmers and ranchers. I consider it a privilege to represent South Dakota’s hardworking farmers and ranchers in the U.S. Senate.

These men and women, often with the support of their entire families, work hard to feed our nation and the world, and I’m proud to be able to work with them on policies that support their important work. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am able to shape agriculture policy, and this work often begins and ends with South Dakota’s producers, whose input over the years has been invaluable.

Unfortunately, farmers and ranchers are currently facing some significant headwinds. Farm incomes have decreased, inflation continues to strain producers’ budgets, and agriculture exports are down. In addition to continuing to advocate for a strong farm bill that provides producers with the support they need to overcome these challenges, I’m also working to improve market conditions for South Dakota’s agricultural products.

South Dakota ranchers produce high-quality beef, and, in South Dakota, we take our beef seriously. Our current beef labeling system, however, has long allowed imported beef that is neither born nor raised in the United States, but is simply finished here, to be labeled as “Product of the U.S.A.”

Like a lot of South Dakotans, I want to be sure the beef I’m buying at the local grocery store is coming from producers in our state, or at least from the United States.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

I have long advocated for a return to mandatory country of origin labeling for beef. I’m encouraged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently finalized a regulation allowing only products born, raised, slaughtered, and processed in the United States to bear the voluntary “Product of the U.S.A.” or “Made in the U.S.A.” label.

But I will continue to push for my American Beef Labeling Act to require mandatory country of origin labeling for beef to ensure full transparency that benefits beef producers and consumers alike.

In addition to a robust domestic market, international trade benefits our farmers and ranchers by opening new markets to sell their products. Unfortunately, the Biden administration has put increasing market access on the backburner to the detriment of American producers. The current decline in U.S. agricultural exports can be directly linked to the Biden administration’s trade strategy, or lack thereof.

The reality is that the rest of the world has not put trade on hold, and the Biden administration’s unambitious agenda is putting America at a serious disadvantage.

I recently led a letter to the U.S. trade representative and the secretary of agriculture urging them to increase agricultural exports and improve competitiveness of American products in foreign markets. American producers cannot afford to continue to be put at a competitive disadvantage by this administration’s inaction.

Agriculture is part of our way of life in South Dakota, and I’ll continue to work with our farmers and ranchers to ensure our agriculture sector remains strong for current and future generations.