During her weekly press conference today with South Dakota media, Rep. Kristi Noem announced her plans to visit Rapid City and the surrounding area affected by last weekend’s storm. Noem said she planned to visit on Sunday at the latest, depending on the House of Representatives potential weekend schedule.

"At the moment, the House schedule is uncertain for the next few days, but I plan to visit West River on Sunday at the very latest so I can see the damage firsthand and talk with as many producers and affected folks as possible," Noem said.

Noem, who lives on a ranch in rural Hamlin County, said she has personal experience losing cattle, but nothing like what ranchers in western South Dakota are going through right now.

"I’ve lost cattle before personally, but never anything close to the magnitude of what has just happened," Noem said. "So having a first-hand account will help me make the case to get a strong livestock disaster portion included in the Farm Bill – and to make sure that this protection would be retroactive to cover the losses incurred by so many ranchers in South Dakota."

She added, "The focus on Capitol Hill has been on the shutdown and the debt ceiling, but we can’t forget about the legislation that will help bring security to producers in South Dakota. I authored the livestock disaster programs in the House Farm Bill.  Clearly, that portion of the Farm Bill is now more important than ever for South Dakota."

Noem also encouraged anyone struggling in the aftermath of the recent storm to contact her office.  She noted that her website, www.noem.house.gov, has a special section to provide guidance to livestock producers who experienced losses in the storm. 

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