I was born and raised on a farm in rural Hamlin County in northeastern South Dakota and went on to take over the farming and ranching operation in my early 20’s. I understand just how critical this industry is to our state and what impact it has on families, rural communities, and South Dakota’s larger cities alike.

One of the most important pieces of legislation impacting this industry is the Farm Bill, which I helped pass in 2014 for the first time in since 2008.  I was privileged to serve as a member of the Conference Committee that negotiated the agreement.  Check out some South Dakota highlights here

Now, that a new Farm Bill is taking shape, I am continuing to work with the Ag Committee to promote the needs of South Dakotans. So far, I’ve introduced the Donations in Rough Years (DRY) Act to permanently allow the hay harvested on certain qualified CRP acres to be donated to ranchers suffering from drought or fire; the Wetland Determinations Efficiency and Transparency Act to address the backlog of wetland determinations and enact permanent reforms that make the determination process more efficient, accountable, and transparent; the Fair CRP Payments Act which would ensure CRP rental payments accurately reflect the current cost of renting farm ground; and the American Prairie Conservation Act which would expand sodsaver nationwide; and legislation to use crop insurance data, rather than NASS data, when computing average county yields for the purposes of the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) program.

I have also worked to address the many challenges facing agriculture today, including unnecessary and burdensome regulations.  For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considered tightening regulations on soot and dust, like that found on farms. I sponsored the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act (H.R. 1633), which passed the House in December 2011 and put enough pressure on the EPA to abandon any consideration of stricter regulations. 

Additionally, I was the only farmer to serve on the final tax reform negotiating team. I fought and achieved some critical wins for agriculture. More specifically, tax reform created 20% tax deduction that applies to the first $315,000 of joint income for many farms and ranches. It also expands interest deductibility, which is critical for a highly-leveraged industry like agriculture; allows for immediate expensing, helping farmers upgrade their operations; doubles Death Tax exemption levels for the first eight years; expands Section 179, allowing farmers to better manage depreciation; expands cash accounting to protect farmers and others from paying taxes on things they have yet to receive payment on; and preserves options for like-kind exchanges

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