Grain Bins


2021 Legislative Session wraps up in Pierre

Posted on March 17, 2021
2021 legislative wrap 1

The marathon 2021 South Dakota Legislative Session wrapped up last week, and much as we do each year, we want to take a moment and reflect on the accomplishments made in setting our state’s policy and laws.

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there was still work to be done in Pierre. Our state’s legislators filed 283 House Bills and 194 Senate Bills for a total of 477 bills during the 96th legislative session, and 32 of them directly affected agriculture in the state. Some of the major topics of discussion included property rights, taxes, education and research, as well as the merger of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

A unique surplus:

2021 proved to be a unique year indeed. The news broke in early February, about a month into legislative session, that South Dakota would have a large sum of unexpected money—$125 million, with $50 million of excess budget, and $71 million in CAREs Act funds— for lawmakers to decide how to use throughout the state.

This led to an opportunity for more projects to be funded, and for lawmakers in the Appropriations Committee, the challenge was helping to determine how these one-time funds could be spent.

The unprecedented amount of one-time dollars has allowed legislators the opportunity to put forward ideas that would make transformational investments in South Dakota ranging from rural broadband investments (SB 34), to funding needs-based scholarships (SB 171), to a bioproducts facility at SDSU (HB 1210).

Bill highlights:

Each year, our staff at South Dakota Corn closely monitor what’s happening in Pierre during Legislative session and major bills that affect the ag industry. Below are some of the major bills from this year’s session:

HB 1140: restrict the entry of conservation officers onto certain private land without permission.

This is a repeal of the so called “Open Fields” doctrine would ban state Game, Fish and Parks officers from entering onto private lands.

HB 1210: Make an appropriation to the Board of Regents to provide grant funding for a new bioproducts facility at the research park in Brookings, and to declare an emergency.

Outlined in the bill, HB 1210 would provide state funding for a new research facility on the SDSU research park. Students and researchers would be able to utilize the facility to develop new ways to develop South Dakota-grown products, such as corn and soy, into bioproducts.

The bill was signed by the senate president and delivered to the governor on March 11th.

HB 1240: Make an appropriation for the redesign and renovation of the Berg Agricultural Hall on the campus of South Dakota State University, and declare and emergency.

Updating Berg Ag Hall is a top priority for the university. Agriculture steadily remains the top industry in South Dakota, which employs 33% of the state’s workforce. In order to bring in world-class research projects and provide opportunities for students that prepare them for a future in the agriculture industry, the facility needs a major facelift.

The House tabled the bill on Feb. 25th.

SB 49: revise property tax levies for school districts and to revise the state aid to general and special education formulas.

This is an annual general levy bill and the statewise levy for all classes will go down as mentioned in the bill, however, the numbers aren’t final yet.

The bill was signed by the speaker of the house and senate president and delivered to the governor on March 11th.

Executive Order: On the 5th day of legislative session Gov. Noem submitted an executive order to merge the South Dakota Department of Agriculture with the Department of Natural Resources.

The execute order creates the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which is set to take effect later this year. There was an attempt to block the executive order with SRD 901, it however, failed.

All bills:

Throughout each legislative session, we update a list of proposed legislation and our position on the bills and how they relate to our state’s corn farmers and ag industry as a whole. Click here to download the list from the 96th legislative session and be sure to bookmark this page on our site for next year’s session.

Thank you to our lawmakers:

We want to take a moment and thank our lawmakers for their hard work each and every legislative session, and this year is no different. Without their commitment to our state’s No. 1 industry we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do each and every day as farmers and ranchers.

Our group extends a huge thank you to those who make the sacrifice to serve South Dakota and keep the best interests of South Dakotans in mind throughout their duties.

SDCGA’s Role:

As always, the South Dakota Corn Growers Association works to stand up for corn farmers in South Dakota throughout the legislative sessions each year. We fight for the interests of our farmers and members, as well as the ethanol industry in Pierre and Washington, DC., promoting farmer-friendly policies to our political leaders.

We take great pride in the work we do as we continue to tell South Dakota’s agriculture story while facing challenges head-on. Learn more about becoming a member today and see how we can help you protect your freedom to farm.

News Categories

Stay Up-to-date

Subscribe to receive information that impacts South Dakota farmers.

By submitting this form, you agree to South Dakota Corn's privacy policy.

More News