Boots on the Ground
It’s easy to get distracted by the noise coming out of Washington – each week I aim to stay out of the muck and to focus on the issues impacting our state. People in South Dakota are focused on being productive, bettering their communities, finding solutions, and coming up with ideas that work.
A few weeks ago, I sat down with administrators from the Wall School because in January, Wall became the first school in South Dakota to provide fresh beef from local ranchers. They had to work hard to make that happen because of the federal government’s red tape. It took collaboration on behalf of community members like Josh Geigle, a rancher and school board member who donated the first beef, and Ken Charfauros, the owner of Wall Meats, who processed the beef and ensured all guidelines were met.
This week superintendents and administrators from more than 20 school districts in Western South Dakota gathered to hear how they can incorporate local beef into their school’s lunch like the Wall School. The Wall School also implemented a curriculum to educate students on where their meat comes from – many folks throughout the country are a few generations removed from the farm, it’s important young people know where their food comes from.
The government likes to make everything harder, so after hearing how difficult it was for the Wall School to get local beef into its cafeteria, I introduced the Farm and Ranch to School Act to make this process a little easier. My bill would amend the National School Lunch Act’s Farm to School Program to include funding to make local livestock and meat procurement for school lunch programs a priority. The Farm and Ranch to School Act will give South Dakota producers a fair shake at serving their product in the lunchroom. South Dakota’s students deserve the best and freshest quality meat in their lunches – this legislation will make that a reality.
At the end of the day, it’s my job to work for the boots on the ground – the people of South Dakota. For that reason, another piece of legislation was put in motion this week.
I introduced the Livestock Risk Management and Education Act to supply producers with the tools needed to anticipate highs and lows in the futures markets. Farmers and Ranchers wear many hats, we should make sure marketing tools are available and easy to use. Folks are facing tough weather and understanding cattle prices doesn’t need to be an added challenge.
You know better than the federal government ever will, and it’s my hope the legislation I introduce equips folks back home with the tools to be self-sufficient.