For Immediate Release

Rep. Dusty Johnson Plays Politics with Agriculture Instead of Delivering for South Dakota Farmers

At a time when President Biden is desperately trying to re-unite the county after four years of Republican division, Representative Dusty Johnson is playing politics with Georgia blueberries. The South Dakota Democratic Party calls on Representative Johnson to work with his Georgia colleagues to support South Dakota’s corn, soybean, beef, and pork industries instead of attacking their focus on blueberries in a committee meeting.   

I cannot understand why, instead of dealing with ASF, wildfires, drought or mandatory price reporting, we’re trying to earn respect for the blueberry,” Rep. Johnson told the House Agriculture Committee last month.

“We live in a big country with a diverse agriculture industry that grows everything from apples to zucchinis, with a lot of South Dakota corn and soybeans in the mix,” said SDDP Chair Randy Seiler. “Instead of attacking one of the prized cash crops of his colleagues in Georgia, we call on South Dakota’s lone representative to promote South Dakota’s agriculture industry within Congress. As Democrats, we believe we need to work together to solve problems. We don’t expect Georgians to understand South Dakota corn, beans, beef and pork any better than we understand their blueberry industry, but we should be able to appreciate that we all want to see agriculture thrive. We hope Rep. Johnson’s tirade against the Georgia blueberry farmer will not hurt South Dakota’s standing in Congress.”

This isn’t the first time Rep. Johnson has chosen to engage in partisan politics instead of promoting South Dakota’s agriculture industry. Rep. Johnson voted against the House Agriculture Committee’s portion of President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. This legislation dedicates $7.75 billion to support agriculture research and infrastructure, $1 billion in expanded biofuel infrastructure, an additional $3.65 billion for research facilities, such as South Dakota State University, plus $18 billion for rural job investments.

In addition to strengthening our agricultural economy in the Build Back Better Act, President Biden’s American Recovery Act includes more than $4 billion dollars to strengthen the food system and shore up critical supply chains that failed during President Trump’s failed handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic led to massive disruption for growers and food workers. It exposed a food system that was rigid, consolidated, and fragile. Meanwhile, those growing, processing and preparing our food are earning less each year in a system that rewards size over all else,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a USDA release. “The Build Back Better initiative will make meaningful investments to build a food system that is more resilient against shocks, delivers greater value to growers and workers, and offers consumers an affordable selection of healthy food produced and sourced locally and regionally by farmers and processors from diverse backgrounds.”

“I always enjoy having fresh blueberries, strawberries, and whip cream with my angel food cake after enjoying a freshly seared steak around the 4th of July, and I’m proud that President Biden, Secretary Vilsack, and Democrats are working to ensure that America and South Dakota’s agricultural industry will always be the best in the world, even while South Dakota’s lone Representative votes against it,” said Chair Seiler.