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Our Views

Our Views Columns

Date: 1/10/2013

Title: In 2013 We Need a Farm Bill, Spending Cuts

By Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)

As we ring in the new year, we reflect on the hope, promise and challenges that 2013 will hold. Many individuals stop to consider the personal improvements and changes they can make to their lives to ensure that 2013 holds even more opportunity than 2012. As we begin this new year, Congress must try even harder to solve short-term problems and achieve long-term goals that will keep America secure and financially stable.

The drought-stricken landscape and the loss of crops, hay and pastures in 2012 presented numerous challenges for cattlemen and women not only in my home state of South Dakota, but across our nation. Following the excessive spring moisture and record floods of 2011, no one would have predicted that 2012 would bring extreme heat, a crippling moisture shortage and the worst drought in decades. Because the weather is so unpredictable, Congress must pursue fiscally responsible agriculture policies that ensure farmers and ranchers can continue to produce a reliable, safe and inexpensive food supply with the appropriate level of regulatory oversight and at the least cost to taxpayers.

Farmers and ranchers deserve to have the certainty that a full farm bill will bring. Cattle producers must have the ability to make management decisions in a timely manner when faced with drought or other natural disasters. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I will continue to work with producers and stakeholders to secure our nation’s agriculture industry and food supply for 2013 and future years.

Other important issues facing our nation include high unemployment, a soaring federal debt and a decline in global competitiveness, all of which are taking a toll on American businesses, large and small. This year the average price of gasoline hit a record high, giving new meaning to the term “pain at the pump.” Overreaching government bureaucracies and an overabundance of unnecessary federal regulations have also severely restricted many of our entrepreneurs and job creators from making investments, adding new workers and ultimately jump-starting the lagging economy. This economic firestorm has affected all Americans. To start this new year out on the right foot, Congress must get to work stimulating the economy with pro-growth legislation and diligently work to cut federal spending, bureaucratic red tape and burdensome government regulations. Achieving this would ensure we put our country back on the right track. I assure you that I will continue to support legislation and initiatives that will allow our vibrant agricultural economy to continue thriving.

The beginning of a new year is always a good time for reflecting on the past and planning for the future. I look forward to new opportunities to serve South Dakota and the United States in the coming year as we embark on a new Congress. My wife Kimberley and I wish you all a happy, safe and healthy new year.