Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor Farm legislation gaining support

To the editor:

I want to update you on my recent work to address the farm crisis that continues to batter producers and rural communities in South Dakota and across the country.

The message is starting to take hold that too much economic power has been concentrated in the hands of a few large agribusinesses. This concentration of market power has helped keep farm prices low and reduced market options for thousands of small and medium-size producers.

Currently, just three meat packers now control nearly 80 percent of the livestock market, compared to only about 30 percent in 1983. The proposed merger of Cargill Inc. and Continental Grain Co. will mean that one company would control at least 35 percent of U.S. and oilseed exports.

In response to this problem, I am pressing many initiatives to restore our producers' ability to compete fairly. My legislation to require meat packers to publicly report the price they pay for livestock has been gaining support in Congress and among farm groups. The Senate Agriculture Committee has scheduled a May 26 hearing on my bill and I am optimistic that it will pass this year.

Adding to this momentum is the fact that the Clinton Administration and several states � including South Dakota � have backed price reporting requirements. I am also encouraged that top officials from USDA and the Justice Department have begun to seriously consider ways to address the concentration problem.

Tom Daschle

United States Senate

Blood bank thanks those who donated

To the editor:

I am writing on behalf of the Siouxland Community Blood Bank to thank all who attempted to donate blood at Vermillion High School on Thursday, April 29.

Forty-three people registered to donate, and a total of 41 pints were collected by the Siouxland Blood Bank of Sioux City. That's tremendous!

Currently, the Siouxland Community Blood Bank of Sioux City has to bring in about 62.5 donations a week to supply our 14 area-hospitals including Avera Sacred Heart Hospital of Yankton. The only way blood products are made available for area-patients is if individuals in our communities volunteer to donate on a regular basis.

We are very thankful for the dedicated Vermillion-area blood donors!

A special thanks goes out to the Vermillion High School National Honor Society, Karol Brodersen, and Dr. Sharon Ross for coordinating this blood drive. The Siouxland Community Blood Bank appreciates their personal efforts and the support of the Vermillion High School students, staff and the Vermillion community.

Sincerely,

Charlie Jespersen

Donor Consultant

Honor law enforcement this week

To the editor:

This week, May 9-15, is National Police Week. I write today to ask you to join me in honoring law enforcement throughout the state for the work they do in keeping our communities safe. Your local police department and sheriff offices are the "front line" of crime prevention in South Dakota.

We have many good reasons to be proud in South Dakota. One of the most important reasons is the fact that we have consistently been among the two or three safest states in the nation. That's because we still think of our fellow citizens as neighbors and friends, and because people are determined to keep South Dakota safe. We continue to have a low crime rate because we genuinely care about our communities, because we have law enforcement officers who do an outstanding job.

Each day when your local sheriff or police officer puts on that uniform and gets in that car, they put their personal safety on the line for the greater benefit of the community. Please join me in thanking these men and women this week, and every week, for the work they do in helping make South Dakota such a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Mark Barnett

Attorney General

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