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South Dakota Hosts Great Plains Regional Ag Summit
South Dakota Ag Connection - 06/09/2023

Producers, tribal leaders and organizations under the U.S. Department of Agriculture met in Pierre, South Dakota the first week of June for the USDA and Intertribal Agriculture Council ’s Great Plains Regional Ag Summit.

Dustin Schmidt is a farmer and rancher from White River, South Dakota. This week, he talked to fellow producers about the impact the Farm Service Agency programs have made on his operation.

“Honestly, that’s kind of where I started is with an FSA loan to get my first cattle bought, and from there on we just kept continuing to use their loan program,” Schmidt said.

But USDA programs like the FSA loans can be confusing, and that’s where this conference comes in.

“What we are talking about is getting Indian producers equitable access to the programs we’ve got,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA administrator. Ducheneaux, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, is the first Native American to be named Farm Service Agency administrator.

“To help producers and to get them there because a lot of people don’t understand that they are available,” said Schmidt. “I think the more word of mouth we can get out and help people understand it would be great.”

This is the first time this conference has been held since 2008.

“This is really the first time in a number of years where Farm Service Agency, the (Natural Resources Conservation Service) and the (Risk Management Agency) have come together to work on one event geared towards producers in Indian country,” said Steve Dick, state executive director for the South Dakota FSA.


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