Pierre Direct Line By Rep. Judy Clark I'm pleased that Senate Bill 5 has passed the Senate and is headed to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee this week. SB 5 is a bill to establish a $3 million value-added agriculture subfund to the REDI (Revolving Economic Development and Initiative) Fund.
The $3 million will be designated for grants or loans for agricultural development, feasibility studies or marketing.
Although the REDI fund was established to make loans to existing businesses, with the main criteria for granting a loan being the number of new jobs the loan would create, this seems to me to be an acceptable use in view of the compelling need to develop a more stable farm and ranch economy. And the REDI fund has already made loans of $7.4 million for ag value-added projects in the past four years.
With this new commitment of money the Board of Economic Development, which administers the REDI fund, financial experts, and researchers from SDSU will work together to help develop, encourage and market new industries which process agricultural products here in South Dakota.
Processing and marketing agricultural products here means lower shipping costs, which translate into better prices for the producer.
And plants, which can turn our produce into market ready products, really do add value to the product � and keep profits in South Dakota.
I was fortunate to be able to attend the Ag Fest here in Pierre last week and saw what can be accomplished when ingenuity and science work together. We ate soy and corn-based foods that looked and tasted like whipped cream, cream cheese, chip dips and many other snack foods. And the microwave-packaged beef entre� was as good as anything grilled or roasted I've ever had!
Another development which supports the agricultural sector is Gov. Janklow's decision to authorize a $75,000 donation to the R-Calf organization to continue the legal fight to determine whether other countries using illegal methods to undercut American agriculture and circumvent trade agreements.
Both these decisions are part of a continuing effort to stabilize our most important South Dakota industry � agriculture. All of us here in Pierre know that when agriculture suffers, we all suffer.
Attention high school seniors!! If you are interested in attending the University of Sioux Falls, I have a $500 Legislative Scholarship available. You must be a new freshman to qualify. Please contact me if you are interested. The scholarship must be submitted with your application no later than May 1, 1999.
Contact me at home 605-624-9795 or Pierre 605-773-3851.