I wanted to share a few thoughts with you as we prepare to wrap up another year and celebrate the Christmas season. 

Thanks to all of you who came to our annual convention in Rapid City. I have heard very positive reviews and I was especially pleased that our delegate session went so well using virtual technology for those that couldn’t make the trip. It was a special honor for Michelle and me to have President Duvall join us and for him to see again why we think so highly of our South Dakota members.

President Duvall is leading our effort as we will likely transition to a new administration in the White House and all of the changes taking place in Congress. It is critical for Farm Bureau to continue to have a seat at the table and stay as influential as possible. The pieces are becoming a bit clearer as it appears we will again be working with Secretary Tom Vilsack from Iowa as U.S. Agriculture secretary. 

A few issues we are keeping a close eye on include the climate change bill. It is important for us to be involved with this legislation to make sure it is in the best interest of producers and our economy. Please understand we are not jumping on board with the alarmists but rather defending against some ideas that would be very hurtful to our industry and country.  We also continue to work on labor reform, immigration issues, trade agreements and will begin thinking about the next farm bill.

I would like to congratulate the staff on both the state and national levels for doing an excellent job keeping our organization relevant and moving forward as we all deal with Covid 19. As we go into 2021, we will likely have some challenges policy-wise that we have not seen in several years. I can assure you, we will work vigorously to implement the policies that our members put in place, both to support good ideas but also to oppose efforts that would be detrimental to our industry.

I would like to close with a quote from President Ronald Reagan that I shared with you at convention. I think it is fitting for the time we are in.

 “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Michelle and I truly wish you a very Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and your families in the coming year!  God Bless you all!