Participating in our democracy has never been more important. The leaders we choose shapes our state and future in ways we don’t even think about, which makes it all the more important to choose wisely.
The South Dakota primary election will be held June 5. Voters will be asked to choose their preferred Republican candidate for the gubernatorial race.
We asked the Republican primary candidates to share their thoughts on South Dakota agriculture to help you make an informed decision about who should represent the Republican Party in this fall’s election.
Both candidates are committed to investing in South Dakota’s future. They understand the importance of agriculture as the state’s biggest industry and the economic impact the agriculture industry has on thousands of South Dakotans every day. While both candidates agree on ag being the backbone of our state, they propose different ways to move the state forward as a whole. Read on to learn more.
Candidate information is shared in alphabetical order by last name.
Republican Gubernatorial Primary
South Dakota attorney general, Pierre.
U.S. representative for South Dakota, Hamlin County.
I grew up in Sturgis, and received my electrical engineering degree from the School of Mines. I then attended law school at the University of South Dakota. My wife, Angela, and I live in Pierre with our two children, Michael, 14, and Isabella, 12. We enjoy spending time at our family farm near Vale and at Angela’s family ranch in Meade County. It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your U.S. attorney and your attorney general. As president of the National Association of Attorneys General, I launched the National Attorneys General Agriculture Committee to address the 21st century legal challenges facing our farmers, ranchers and the agriculture industry. If elected governor, I will continue to be a strong advocate for the farmers and ranchers of South Dakota.
I am a lifelong farmer and rancher in northeast South Dakota. After my dad died in a grain bin accident, I took over the family’s farming operation. I was elected to the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2006 and served as the assistant majority leader by 2008. In 2010, I was elected to serve as South Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives. In addition to negotiating the 2014 Farm Bill, I was one of five House members to cut the tax-cuts deal that President Trump signed in 2017. Today, I live on a ranch in rural Hamlin County with my husband, Bryon, and our three children, Kassidy, Kennedy and Booker.
1. Question: What do you feel are the top three issues facing South Dakota’s agriculture industry?
- Trade policy.
- Commodity prices.
- Inspiring the next generation to farm
- Expanding market opportunities through value-added agriculture
- Improving infrastructure to lower the basis for grain products
2. Question: What is your vision for South Dakota’s agriculture industry?
Our vision for South Dakota agriculture begins with these priorities:
- Enhance transportation infrastructure: Investments in roads, bridges and rail are critical for transporting products to market and delivering inputs.
- Support our growing livestock sector: My administration will work to enhance livestock production in South Dakota, including support for best management practices, education and research.
- Expand value-added agriculture: My administration will call for more flexibility in the use of the REDI Fund as well as full utilization of the Value-Added Ag Sub fund to provide grants or loans for development, feasibility studies or marketing.
- Protect low tax principles: We must hold the line on property taxation and look for ways to reduce the property tax.
- Support advances in ag research and production agriculture: We will support the expansion of precision ag programs at our state’s universities and tech schools.
- Fight EPA bureaucracy and useless D.C. regulations: I will fight against D.C. regulations from the EPA and the Corps of Engineers that hurt American agriculture.
- Increase the production and use of biofuels: I strongly support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and oppose EPA efforts to expand the number of RFS small-refinery waivers.
- Promote natural resources conservation: The Jackley administration will be an outspoken advocate for best management practices in natural resource conservation.
- Expand agricultural education, internship opportunities and curriculum: We will support the work of FFA and 4-H in developing real-life agricultural skills for students.
As governor, I will work to expand education and increase investments in production-boosting research, such as biotechnology and precision ag. More specifically, I am committed to:
- Encouraging strong support of 4-H and FFA programs;
- Dramatically increasing shared-learning opportunities among universities, technical programs and high schools for ag education and skills training;
- Continuing investments into SDSU’s first-in-the-nation precision agriculture degree program;
- Completing SDSU’s precision ag building, which the state legislature recently approved;
- Promoting cross-training between students at SDSU and technical schools, like Lake Area Tech; and
- Enhancing the Governor’s Ag Summit to increase access and educational offerings.
3. Question: How do you propose to keep South Dakota’s agriculture industry moving forward?
I believe producers should ask three important things of their new governor in order to keep South Dakota ag moving forward.
First, the statewide effort to continue the success of South Dakota ag begins with giving producers a seat at the table. SD Corn is a perfect example of the kind of advocate whose voice will be heard should I be fortunate enough to become governor.
Second, the ag industry deserves a governor with the leadership skills and experience to make change happen in Pierre. I will aggressively fight for our ag priorities and work with ag leaders and our legislature to deliver results.
Third, I will act when Washington will not. I will continue to take the same bold action I’ve taken as your attorney general—whether it’s suing the federal government when they’ve overstepped their legal authority or bringing new funding resources to our state without raising taxes.
I will leverage my experience as a lifelong producer to advance our industry. From protecting property rights to expanding markets, my administration would be built to develop the state’s agricultural economy and give more young people the opportunity to thrive as farmers and ranchers in South Dakota. More specifically, I will:
- Create a blueprint for agricultural economic development that broadens opportunities for existing farms and ranches and helps identify and recruit our next ag-related growth industries;
- Equip South Dakotans with the skills needed to succeed in agriculture;
- Review the permitting structure to ensure it promotes economic development and respects local control;
- Add value to South Dakota-grown commodities and livestock;
- Bolster livestock disease preparedness;
- Enhance infrastructure to support farmers; and
- Transition the state vehicle fleet to higher ethanol blends.
4. Question: As governor, how would you help the South Dakota Department of Agriculture seek out new market opportunities for South Dakota agricultural commodities and products?
First, we will continue to develop product markets right here in South Dakota. By expanding our value-added production, we can process more of our products in the state and create new jobs.
Second, we will expand our export opportunities by providing more transportation options and building trade relationships abroad.
If elected, I will direct the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to prioritize value-added agriculture, thoroughly vetting new processing, agricultural biotechnology and manufacturing opportunities.
As governor, I will lead by example and work to transition the state fleet to higher ethanol blends, such as E-30.
As governor, I will work to improve the state’s infrastructure to lower the basis for grain products, putting more money in the hands of hardworking farmers.
5. Question: As governor, how would you encourage livestock development in the state of South Dakota?
My administration will call for more flexibility in the use of the REDI Fund as well as full utilization of the Value-Added Ag Subfund to provide grants or loans for development, feasibility studies or marketing. We will encourage investment in those entities seeking non-conventional capital to ensure ag projects with regional economic impact can be fully funded.
My administration would undergo a thorough review of the current permitting system, working hand-in-hand with counties to improve the process.
At the same time, I would work to bolster livestock disease preparedness. Backed by SDSU’s world-class animal disease research program, South Dakota is uniquely positioned to improve livestock disease management practices. Working with the university, the Animal Industry Board, the State Veterinarian and our growing biotech industry, we can mitigate economic and environmental impacts while improving overall herd and flock health.
6. Question: Agriculture is South Dakota’s largest industry. As governor, what would you do to advance farmers’ interests amongst state legislators?
I have developed trusted relationships with legislators from across the state and I will work with our elected officials at every level of government—including county and local leaders—to make our Growing South Dakota Ag Initiative a reality.
First and foremost, I will make sure a farmer is at the table during the most critical discussions, serving as a lead negotiator. Second, I will take the time to educate others about agriculture, its challenges, and its impact. As a lifelong farmer and rancher, I get it. And I can use that experience as a tool.