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South Dakotans Visit Capitol Hill to Push for Farm Bill

A group of South Dakotans spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to pass a comprehensive, five-year farm bill. A total of 30 South Dakotans were among the nearly 300 participants from across the country to attend the National Farmers Union's annual legislative fly-in to Washington.

"It's such a critical time for us to be in Washington and meet with our lawmakers," said South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke. "We're nearing the expiration date of the farm bill extension and we're asking lawmakers to get a farm bill passed before the end of the month.

"Much of the talk in Washington this week has been the situation in Syria. Farmers Union members are working to make sure lawmakers keep the farm bill discussions moving forward and don't forget about the issue.

"We understand that Syria is a pressing issue right now," Sombke said. "We're working to inform members of Congress about the national security impact the farm bill has on our country. If we can't grow our own food, our national security is at risk."South Dakotans met with members of Congress and their staffs throughout the day Tuesday, including members from states like Florida, Georgia, Arizona and others."

"It's important for us to tell our story to people from across the country  that aren't as familiar with agriculture," Sombke said. "It gives us a chance to discuss these issues that are extremely important."

The South Dakotans also met privately in separate meetings Tuesday with South Dakota's congressional delegation, Sen. John Thune, Sen. Tim Johnson and Rep. Kristi Noem. The fly-in runs through Wednesday in Washington, D.C.