Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Noem leads 46 lawmakers in quest to protect U.S. agricultural trade

2018/04/18

U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) led 46 members of the U.S. House of Representatives in calling for President Donald Trump to tread lightly on American agriculture while taking China to task over trade dealings with the United States.

“Your leadership and your administration have been vital in providing much-needed relief to Farm Country,” the lawmakers wrote in an April 13 letter to the president, referring collectively to majority agricultural states they represent across the nation.

“All our hard-won gains in Farm Country, however, are at serious risk of being wiped away because China is threatening retaliation against American farmers. We appreciate your commitment to stand by U.S. farmers and ranchers in the face of these outrageous threats,” according to their letter.

Among the 46 members who joined Rep. Noem in signing the letter were U.S. Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Glenn ‘G.T.’ Thompson (R-PA), Andy Barr (R-KY), Tom Cole (R-OK), Darin LaHood (R-IL), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Susan Brooks (R-IN), Frank Lucas (R-OK), Don Bacon (R-NE) and Billy Long (R-MO).

Their letter came on the heels of China’s recently announced tariffs increases, which could impact all of South Dakota’s top-five agricultural products: beef, corn, soybeans, wheat, and hogs, according to a statement from Rep. Noem’s staff. South Dakota is the 11th-largest agricultural exporting state in the nation with a total of $3.7 billion in agricultural goods exported in 2015, according to the statement.

“China’s irresponsible countermeasures threaten to undermine our achievements for South Dakota agriculture,” Rep. Noem said on April 16. “I stand firmly with President Trump in his effort to hold China accountable for its dishonest trade practices, but I urge the administration to do so in a way that avoids harmful Chinese countermeasures against American agriculture. This will help us put agriculture back on the road to prosperity.”

What has now escalated into a trade war between the U.S. and China began earlier this year. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) on Jan. 22 instituted safeguard tariffs on imported washing machines, solar cells and modules, according to the lawmakers’ letter, and China responded with what the lawmakers cited as “a baseless antidumping and countervailing duty investigation” on U.S. sorghum exports sold to China, valued at $1 billion.

Then in March, under the premise of protecting U.S. national security in response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of U.S. technology and intellectual property, President Trump approved tariffs on imported steel and aluminum under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. China retaliated with proposed tariffs of 15 percent on U.S. agricultural goods such as apples, nuts, ethanol, and wine, and a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork exports.

“With U.S. pork exports worth $1.1 billion last year, this reprisal will substantially damage a very important industry,” the House members wrote.

This month, the USTR published a proposed list of products imported from China that could be subject to additional tariffs following its Section 301 trade act investigation. According to the USTR, the proposed list covers approximately 1,300 separate tariff lines and will undergo further review in a public notice and comment process, including a hearing, before USTR issues a final determination on the products subject to the additional duties.

China has countered with proposed 25-percent tariffs on agricultural goods including soybeans, corn, frozen orange juice, wheat and beef. “Soybean exports are worth $14 billion to an agriculture economy already enduring historically tough times,” according to the congressional members’ letter.

“We must continue to build on the success that’s come from historic tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks under the Trump administration,” said Rep. Noem, a member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, in a separate statement.

Noting that America’s farmers and ranchers are resilient, they nonetheless are already struggling with low commodity prices and drought, the lawmakers wrote.

“With net farm income down by half over the last four years, and no relief on the horizon, they are particularly vulnerable,” they pointed out.

The members told Trump they appreciated his support for their agricultural constituents as he deals with China’s retaliatory trade behavior. However, they encouraged the president “to work diligently” in negotiating with China “in a manner that will avoid retaliation.”

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Farm Bill Advances in U.S. House

2018/04/18

Rep. Kristi Noem today released the following statement after the House Agriculture Committee voted to advance the Farm Bill, setting the legislation up for a vote on the House floor:

“The Farm Bill is a necessary safety net, not only for our farmers and ranchers, but for our food supply,” said Noem. “With strong crop insurance and livestock disaster programs along with food stamp reforms, this legislation builds on the success of the historic tax cuts offered to farmers, ranchers, and consumers. I am proud of the months-long effort that has produced this legislation, and I look forward to helping usher this bill through the House in the weeks to come.”

Noem served on the 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee, which acted as the bill’s final negotiating team. With fewer and fewer members representing rural districts, the legislation initially failed on the House floor. Noem, however, led efforts to resurrect the bill, taking on her own party to push the bill over the finish line.

The legislation:

  • Incorporates Noem’s reforms to strengthen commodity programs. During the 2014 Farm Bill implementation, USDA elected to prioritize county yield data from its National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), which has proven unreliable in many cases. Today’s House proposal, using Noem’s language, would direct USDA to prioritize crop insurance data instead, which is a more dependable source.
  • Maintains a strong crop insurance program.
  • Increases CRP acreage to 29 million acres, while capping rental rates according to Noem proposal. Additionally, enrollment rates will be based on a state’s historical data, which Noem has previously pressured USDA to do.
  • Updates the wetland determination process so the USDA must prove the producer doesn’t qualify for an exemption before being ruled outside of conservation compliance, according to language Noem worked on.
  • Maintains meaningful Livestock Disaster Programs, which Noem fought to prioritize during the 2014 Farm Bill debate.
  • Maintains and strengthens dairy policy. The first 5 million pounds of milk production on a dairy farm is eligible for higher coverage levels at lower premiums.
  • Maintains the Beginning Farmer incentive program.
  • Enhances incentives for rural broadband development.
  • Simplifies the environmental review process requirements for forestry management, which Noem has strongly advocated for – particularly as it relates to fighting the pine beetle and other insect infestations in the Black Hills.
  • Establishes work and training requirements for SNAP benefits. Building on the economic successes of tax reform, the legislation would require that able-bodied, non-elderly individuals without young children work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week. No individual would lose benefits unless they decline to work or accept free training to learn a skill.
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Noem Statement on Tax Day

2018/04/17

Rep. Kristi Noem today released the following statement as Americans filed taxes under the old tax system for the last time:

“When you sent in your 2017 taxes, you filed your last return under the old tax code. The next time Tax Day rolls around, the standard deduction and Child Tax Credit will be doubled, and the tax rates for individuals and job creators will be significantly lower because of the historic tax cuts I negotiated alongside President Trump. For many, the benefit on next year’s tax return will be only part of it. Millions across the country have received bonuses, pay raises, and better benefits. New companies are popping up, energy costs are going down, and people are feeling more confident about the direction our country is headed in. Tax cuts are already at work.”

When Congress negotiated tax reform legislation late last year, Noem served as one of only five House Republicans – and one of the only farmers – on the final negotiating team. Partnering with Ivanka Trump, Noem successfully worked to double the Child Tax Credit and maintain the Child Care Credit. Because of the doubled standard deduction and strengthened provisions for farmers, ranchers, and job creators, the average family of four in South Dakota is projected to receive a $2,400 tax reduction next year.

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2018 Farm Bill draft released by Noem, Thompson, Moolenaar, House Ag Committee

2018/04/17

U.S. Reps. Kristi Noem (R-SD), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), John Moolenaar (R-MI) and members of the U.S House Agriculture Committee on April 12 introduced a bipartisan draft of the 2018 Farm Bill proposing economic policy solutions for America’s farmers and ranchers and making some 35 improvements to the nation’s food stamps program.

The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, H.R. 2., is a “critical component” of the Republican agenda to “combine work requirements with work supports,” said U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan during an April 12 press conference that preceded release of the draft proposal by U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway (R-TX), chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. Rep. Ryan (R-WI) said during his weekly address that he thinks the House can get the bill passed and he’d like to do so this spring.

The Farm Bill makes up roughly 2 percent of all federal funding, according to a statement from Rep. Thompson’s office, but 80 percent of total Farm Bill spending goes toward nutrition programs. The remainder supports farmers, ranchers and consumers through commodity programs, agricultural research, trade and rural development. The bill gets renewed every five years.

Among one of the most notable changes under H.R. 2 would be changes to existing work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as food stamps, received by about 5 million to 7 million low-income U.S. residents. Rep. Thompson, chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Nutrition, said since 2015 the subcommittee held 21 hearings on SNAP, heard more than 80 witnesses testify on program improvements, and worked “in earnest toward the goal of ending hunger in America.”

The result, according to a top-10 highlights page on the Farm Bill issued by the House Agriculture Committee, is that SNAP recipients under H.R. 2 could choose among streamlined work requirements paired with several options to get SNAP benefits, including to participate in a fully funded, guaranteed Employment & Training (E&T) slot. “Individuals may choose not to participate, but they will no longer be eligible for SNAP,” according to the committee summary.

“While the bill continues SNAP assistance to our most vulnerable, the legislation also provides new opportunities for individuals who have been marginalized by lack of education or gainful employment,” Rep. Thompson said. “Today’s bill is about ensuring this critical safety net remains a viable program for years to come, especially for those who need it most.”

“As chairman of the Nutrition Subcommittee, I am particularly proud of the reforms put forth for the SNAP program,” said Rep. Thompson.

H.R. 2 also would reauthorize and strengthen the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) options through 2023. Producers would be able to make a new election between ARC and PLC with several improvements, according to the committee summary, such as “allowing a new yield update opportunity for producers who were facing severe drought during the previous yield update.”

“Between a drought and poor prices, South Dakota’s farm economy has taken a significant hit in recent years,” said Rep. Noem. “For many producers, the Farm Bill has provided a necessary safety net during these tougher years, helping provide stability in America’s food supply. With major reforms done in the last Farm Bill, today’s legislation works to fine-tune the programs.”

Rep. Noem said she was also thrilled the bill incorporated her proposal to improve the commodity title, while maintaining livestock disaster and crop insurance programs. She served on the 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee and during implementation of that bill, Rep. Noem’s staff said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) elected to prioritize county yield data from its National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), which since has proven to be largely unreliable. The 2018 Farm Bill draft, using Noem’s language, would direct USDA to prioritize crop insurance data instead, which is a more dependable source, her staff said.

Additionally, the USDA Secretary under H.R. 2 would retain authority to provide assistance to farmers impacted by foreign trading practices and the bill proposes to maintain livestock disaster programs, enhance dairy policy and streamline conservation management programs, among other provisions, according to the committee summary.

Rep. Moolenaar, who has met with farmers across Michigan to learn about the challenges they’re facing in the lead up to the introduction of the 2018 Farm Bill, said the draft “provides critical support for the farmers in our district and it will support new farmers as they start out in agriculture.”

H.R. 2 also aims to benefit rural communities with infrastructure initiatives and more than $582 million in yearly funding to improve rural Internet access,” said Rep. Moolenaar, who thanked House Agriculture Committee Chairman Conaway and committee members for their work introducing the legislation.

“I will continue to follow developments as it moves through Congress and I hope farmers will continue to contact me with their concerns regarding this legislation,” the congressman added.

H.R. 2 is now under consideration by the House Agriculture Committee.

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Noem Statement on Passing of Barbara Bush

2018/04/17

Rep. Kristi Noem today released the following statement after the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush:

“Barbara Bush told it like was, which is something I always admired about her. She was a dedicated patriot with a quick wit, an unwavering faith, and a strength of character that earned the world’s respect. I pray tonight that the Bush family finds comfort by the promise of salvation and the prayers of a nation for a wonderful First Lady.” Read More

Noem Leads 46 House Members in Outlining Trade Priorities

2018/04/16

In a letter to President Trump Friday, Rep. Kristi Noem led 46 members of the U.S. House in outlining key priorities for agriculture when it comes to trade with China.

“We must continue to build on the success that’s come from historic tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks under the Trump administration,” said Noem. “China’s irresponsible countermeasures threaten to undermine our achievements for South Dakota agriculture. I stand firmly with President Trump in his effort to hold China accountable for its dishonest trade practices, but I urge the administration to do so in a way that avoids harmful Chinese countermeasures against American agriculture. This will help us put agriculture back on the road to prosperity.”

The letter comes after China announced significantly higher tariffs, impacting all five of South Dakota’s top five agriculture products: beef, corn, soybeans, wheat, and hogs. The nation’s eleventh largest ag exporting state, South Dakota exported $3.7 billion in agricultural goods in 2015.

FULL LETTER:

Dear Mr. President,

It is no secret that some of your strongest support comes from communities that rely on agriculture for survival. As representatives of districts with a heavy agriculture presence, we have been pleased about so much of your administration’s work related to agriculture. Your leadership and your administration have been vital in providing much-needed relief to Farm Country, from leading the charge on fundamental tax reform to your administration’s U.S.-China 100-Day Action plan securing access for U.S. beef producers to the Chinese market for the first time since 2003. We strongly support your efforts to open China to U.S. agriculture and to take strong steps to end China’s unfair trade practices and other cheating.

All our hard-won gains in Farm Country, however, are at serious risk of being wiped away because China is threatening retaliation against American farmers. We appreciate your commitment to stand by U.S. farmers and ranchers in the face of these outrageous threats.

We’ve seen many recent examples of China’s extraordinary threats to our agriculture community. On January 22, the United States Trade Representative announced safeguard tariffs on imported residential washing machines and solar cells and modules. Less than two weeks later, China launched a baseless antidumping and countervailing duty investigation on sorghum imports from the United States. This retaliatory measure is severe, given that a full 77 percent of U.S. sorghum exports are sold to China, with a value of $1 billion.

Similarly, on March 22, you approved tariffs on imported steel and aluminum under Section 232. That very day, China again took retaliatory measures against America’s agriculture exports, proposing tariffs of 15 percent on agricultural goods such as apples, nuts, ethanol, and wine, and a 25 percent tariff on U.S. pork exports. With U.S. pork exports worth $1.1 billion last year, this reprisal will substantially damage a very important industry.

Most recently, less than 11 hours following the announcement of the Administration’s proposed Section 301 product list, China countered with proposed 25 percent tariffs on agricultural goods such as soybeans, corn, frozen orange juice, wheat, and beef. Soybean exports are worth $14 billion to an agriculture economy already enduring historically tough times.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said recently that farmers are the “tip of the spear when it comes to retaliatory measures” and you have acknowledged that farmers are “great patriots.” Our farmers and ranchers are resilient, but they are already struggling with low commodity prices and drought. With net farm income down by half over the last four years, and no relief on the horizon, they are particularly vulnerable.

Accordingly, we appreciate your support for farmers and ranchers in the face of Chinese retaliation, and we encourage the Administration to work diligently in its negotiations with China to address China’s trade practices in a manner that will avoid retaliation, helping to return our agriculture industry to a state of certainty and back on the road to prosperity. Read More

Thune, Rounds and Noem respond to Syria attack

2018/04/13

Two thirds of South Dakota's congressional delegation responded, late Friday evening, to the United States' attack on Syria.

The attack was directed against Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, after it was found that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on its civilians. Three targets were the center of the attack in the Syrian capitol of Damascus. 

The attack was coordinated with France and the United Kingdom.

Sen. Mike Rounds via Twitter, said that President Trump sent a strong message that the U.S. and allies "will not tolerate barbaric and inhumane chemical attacks on innocent victims."

@SenatorRounds

Tonight, the president sent a strong message that the U.S. and our allies, as leaders of the civilized world, will not tolerate barbaric and inhumane chemical attacks on innocent victims. Keeping our brave men and women in uniform in our prayers.

Rep. Kristi Noem tweeted her support for President Trump's decision. She did question the long-term approach to the country, but praised the swift response.

@RepKristiNoem

I support President Trump's decisive action in Syria today, which asserted the strength of America's B-1 fleet. Questions remain about our long-term approach to Syria, but that shouldn't minimize the necessity of tonight's swift and commensurate response.

Sen. John Thune posted that the Assad and his enablers need to know that the use chemical weapons will not be tolerated.

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Gender-separated 4-H rodeo events remain in pending review

2018/04/13

Gender categories for 4-H rodeo events in South Dakota won’t be disappearing this year.

In an effort to meet Title IX requirements as interpreted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, South Dakota State University Extension had asked for a change in event category labels. Instead of listing events as girls and boys, four divisions were going to be used, said John Keimig, SDSU youth safety field specialist.

But that change has now been put on hold pending a federal review by the U.S. Department of Education.

Title IX prohibits segregated events based on sex, and the USDA specifically prohibits gender segregation within 4-H activities.

Keimig, who is also liaison to South Dakota 4-H Rodeo, said Title IX compliance is not a new conversation. Creating the divisions was expected to bring the program into compliance with current USDA requirements. As a USDA program, 4-H takes its direction from the agency, which until last year had been using a 1979 interpretation of the Title IX ruling.

South Dakota 4-H Rodeo media contact Casey Cowan said that aside from having the 4-H name attached to the program and receiving some technical assistance from SDSU Extension, 4-H rodeo is independently funded.

According to state 4-H rules and regulations, rodeo events are set up with specific events designated for girls and boys. The same number of events are available for each gender. There are four events for junior 4-H members 8 to 13 years old, and five each for senior 4-H’ers 14 to 18. While there is some overlap in junior events, senior events are different. Girls compete in barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, breakaway roping and ribbon roping, during which a calf is roped and a ribbon is removed from the ear. Senior boys compete in bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, calf roping, steer wrestling and bull riding.

Keimig said that according to the USDA, there can only be gender segregation in programs for contact sports like wrestling, or if team selection is based on an unfair physical advantage and there’s a team for each gender.

But Cowan, who participated in 4-H rodeo as a youth and is a former president of South Dakota 4-H Rodeo, said the state’s youth program is patterned after collegiate rodeo programs that also have events separated by gender.

According to the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association, men’s events are saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling and team roping. Women’s events are barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway roping and team roping.

Cowan said changing the 4-H program wouldn’t make sense since it currently mirrors collegiate programs.

The USDA was asked to take a closer look at its Title IX ruling by Congresswoman Kristi Noem, R-S.D., who wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue in November. She asked for a review of the USDA opinion that gender-separated events are a Title IX violation.

“Rodeo is a sport that contains diverse contests. The outcomes of these contests are heavily dependent both on the skill of the contestant and in many instances, the inherent differences between the sexes,” Noem wrote in her letter.

The differences between male and female competitors can create unfair advantages, so Noem asked for a Title IX exception for the rodeo program.

Perdue responded this week, indicating that the USDA will be seeking input from the U.S. Department of Education, which is now reviewing some of its Title IX regulations.

Perdue said South Dakota 4-H Rodeo can continue unchanged while the review is conducted.

Keimig said the program is one of just two in the country. The other is in New Mexico where there’s no gender distinction.

According to the New Mexico 4-H Rodeo rulebook, events are simply listed for novice, junior and senior participants. But, Cowan said, New Mexico’s program only has 125 contestants at most, while South Dakota’s had 1,219 in 2017.

Keimig and Cowan said exceptions have been made to the existing gender-separation rules. Girls have been allowed to sign up for boys events, and vice versa. But, Cowan said, those exceptions have been rare.

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Noem Statement on Failing of Balanced Budget Amendment

2018/04/13

Rep. Kristi Noem today released the following statement after Democrats blocked the passage of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“America’s economy is booming again because of the work we’ve done to cut taxes and repeal costly regulations. That growth is critical, but out-of-control spending is an anchor on continued prosperity. While I’ve fought to reverse the Democrats’ spending binge, more must be done to hold big-spenders accountable long into the future. I will continue to fight to add a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, taking South Dakota’s example and forcing some commonsense fiscal discipline on Washington, D.C.”

As a member of the South Dakota state legislature, Noem helped balance the state’s budget every year she served. Noem has consistently supported legislation to add a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution while serving in the U.S. House.

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Noem: Tax Reform: Making Taxes Less Taxing

2018/04/13

When you sent in your 2017 taxes, you filed your last return under the old tax code. Because of the historic tax cuts I helped negotiate with President Trump, next year’s bill will be significantly lower for many. In fact, the average South Dakota family of four is projected to save more than $2,400.

For me, the bottom line has always been that you work hard for your money and the federal government ought to respect that. It’s because of this foundational principle that I pushed, as one of only five House Republicans on the final negotiating team, for lower tax rates and to double the standard deduction. It’s also why I fought beside Ivanka Trump to double the Child Tax Credit and maintain the Child Care Credit. We also eliminated the marriage penalty and won key provisions for farmers, ranchers, and South Dakota job creators.

But until a person punches in the numbers, it can be difficult to conceptualize what these changes really mean. Rather than waiting for Tax Day 2019, I wanted to share a few examples of what you can expect. Let’s look at Jim and Kelsie. Both are teachers making $45,600 each, which is about average in South Dakota. The couple has two children. Under previous law, the family would owe $6,288. Because their tax rate fell, their standard deduction was doubled, and their Child Tax Credit went from $1,000 per child to $2,000 per child, Jim and Kelsie will now owe $3,683 – a $2,605 savings!

Let’s look at another example. Liz has been working in marketing for seven years. She makes around $54,000 and doesn’t have any children. Because of the historic tax cuts, Liz will get to keep an extra $100 a month from her paycheck, helping her save for a much-needed new car.

For many, the benefit on their tax returns is only part of it. Millions across the country have received bonuses, pay raises, or better benefits. Many companies – including major employers like Walmart – have increased their minimum wages. We’re seeing new companies pop up, energy costs are going down, and people are feeling more confident about the direction our country is headed in. 

At the end of the day, around 90 percent of Americans will see an increase in their take-home pay because of the tax cuts. It was the honor of a lifetime to work with President Trump to negotiate this deal and help deliver on his agenda to make taxes just a little less taxing on South Dakota families. Read More

Bill combating online sex trafficking backed by Noem signed into law

2018/04/12

A bill co-sponsored by South Dakota Representative Kristi Noem to combat online sex trafficking was signed into law on Wednesday.

The legislation will give law enforcement and victims more tools to fight sex trafficking by allowing states and victims to go after websites that facilitate trafficking, imposing stiff penalties on those websites and taking away immunity from websites that profit from trafficking.

Noem said this was a step in the right direction for justice and protection for trafficking victims.

"We still have more work to do to really, truly get this opportunity to protect our kids fully realized, but already we are seeing huge changes in the mechanism that abuse our children are utilizing," she said.

Since the legislation was passed by Congress, Craigslist and Reddit have shut down personal ads on their websites, and federal authorities have seized control of and indicted executives at the website "Backpage."

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Farm Bill Introduced in the U.S. House

2018/04/12

Reflecting many of Rep. Kristi Noem’s priorities and proposals, the Farm Bill was today introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.  

“Between a drought and poor prices, South Dakota’s farm economy has taken a significant hit in recent years,” said Noem. “For many producers, the Farm Bill has provided a necessary safety net during these tougher years, helping provide stability in America’s food supply. With major reforms done in the last Farm Bill, today’s legislation works to fine-tune the programs. I’m thrilled the bill incorporates my proposal to improve the commodity title, while maintaining livestock disaster and crop insurance programs. Building on the economic success we’ve had as a result of tax reform, this legislation also establishes real work requirements for our nutrition programs. While our work on this bill has been ongoing for some time, introduction is a big step in the right direction. I look forward to continuing to work with the Agriculture Committee to advance this legislation.”

Noem served on the 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee, which acted as the bill’s final negotiating team. With fewer and fewer members representing rural districts, the legislation initially failed on the House floor. Noem, however, led efforts to resurrect the bill, taking on her own party to push the bill over the finish line.

The legislation introduced today:

  • Incorporates Noem’s reforms to strengthen commodity programs. During the 2014 Farm Bill implementation, USDA elected to prioritize county yield data from its National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), which has proven unreliable in many cases. Today’s House proposal, using Noem’s language, would direct USDA to prioritize crop insurance data instead, which is a more dependable source.
  • Maintains a strong crop insurance program.
  • Increases CRP acreage to 29 million acres, while capping rental rates according to Noem proposal. Additionally, enrollment rates will be based on a state’s historical data, which Noem has previously pressured USDA to do.
  • Maintains meaningful Livestock Disaster Programs, which Noem fought to prioritize during the 2014 Farm Bill debate.
  • Maintains and strengthens dairy policy. The first 5 million pounds of milk production on a dairy is eligible for higher coverage levels at lower premiums.
  • Maintains the Beginning Farmer incentive program.
  • Creates a new scholarship program for land grant universities for students pursuing a career in food and agriculture sciences.
  • Enhances incentives for rural broadband development.
  • Simplifies the environmental review process requirements for forestry management, which Noem has strongly advocated for – particularly as it relates to fighting the pine beetle and other insect infestations in the Black Hills.
  • Establishes work and training requirements for SNAP benefits. Building on the economic successes of tax reform, the legislation would require that able-bodied, non-elderly individuals without young children work or participate in work training for 20 hours per week. No individual would lose benefits unless they decline to work or accept free training to learn a skill.

WATCH: Noem Discusses Introduced Farm Bill 

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USDA’s Perdue sides with South Dakota 4-H rodeo supporters for boys and girls events

2018/04/11

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has weighed in on the 4-H rodeo controversy brewing in South Dakota, which has most of the nation’s 4-H rodeo competitors.

Local 4-H rodeo leaders in Pierre and Fort Pierre have said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s national policy on prohibiting 4-H rodeo events being labeled by sex or gender violates federal Title IX laws banning discrimination in educational activities.

It’s a 40-year-old controversy that has heated up recently as national 4-H officials in Washington have ordered 4-H officials in South Dakota to enforce the rule.

At a meeting last week in Pierre, SDSU Extension 4-H officials told a roomful of local 4-H parents and supporters that after this year, no longer would events and prizes named “boys” and “girls” be allowed.

Casey Cowan, a long time 4-H rodeo supporter from north of Pierre, says he can’t understand why USDA can’t use the interpretation of Title IX used by the federal Department of Education, allowing girls sports teams and boys sports teams in high schools and colleges across the land.

Now the boss of USDA is siding with South Dakota 4-H rodeo supporters and organizers.

In a letter dated April 1, Perdue told Rep. Kristi Noem, R-SD: “Before 2017 USDA had its own unique version of the Title IX regulations. In 2017, however, USDA enacted a new version of its Title IX regulations that accord with the common rule developed by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2000.”

Perdue told Noem that it appears national 4-H officials in USDA have been out of step with the federal Department of Education, which he said “is the lead federal agency with respect to Title IX enforcement involving students. . . “

Perdue said USDA and the Education Department are reviewing Title IX policies and it would “not be appropriate for USDA to take action against the traditional structure of South Dakota’s 4-H rodeos while this review is ongoing. 4-H may organize its rodeos in South Dakota as it always has.”

Perdue wrote Noem: “We wish the organizers and young competitors much success in their upcoming rodeo season.”

Noem had written Perdue about the issue last fall and he apologized in the April 1 letter “for the delayed response.”

Noem issued a news release about it late Tuesday, saying that except for action by her, USDA “was moving forward with the elimination of exclusively ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ events in 4-H youth rodeo, against the wishes of many within the rodeo community.”

4-H rodeo is found only in South Dakota and in New Mexico, which has far fewer activities and competitions than South Dakota 4-H, Cowan said.

4-H leaders in Michigan and Oregon also organized 4-H rodeos until a few years ago.

It’s a big deal in South Dakota where rodeo is the state sport: 1,219 young people took part in 35 regional 4-H rodeos last year and 532 of them went on to compete in the state 4-H finals rodeo held in Fort Pierre every August.

Although many 4-H activities, including livestock exhibits in which 4-Hers show their steers, sheep and hogs, include boys and girls in the same ring, the same event, the same prizes, rodeo is different, Cowan says.

It’s more like a “contact sport,” such as football that is exempted from some interpretations of Title IX’s general rule banning discrimination.

In 4-H rodeo in South Dakota, riding bulls and broncs, for example, are called boys events, although girls are allowed to enter if they want to, Cowan says. And some boys have chosen in recent years to compete in barrel racing, or pole-bending or ribbon-roping, which are called girls events.

New Mexico’s 4-H rodeo several years ago dropped any gender distinctions, dividing rodeo events into several divisions.

South Dakota 4-H rodeo began in 1971, a year before the federal Title IX law was even passed, and has been an example of fair play for boys and girls for a half-century, Cowan says.

Noem agreed with Cowan in her news release: “The previous legal opinion was more about political correctness than the rodeo experience for the kids involved,” Noem said. “After months of pressure, the USDA finally listened to those actually involved in the rodeo, hit pause, and allowed South Dakota youth rodeo to continue to operate as it has for decades. I’m grateful to Secretary Perdue for hearing us out and helping me push career bureaucrats to take South Dakota 4-H seriously.”

In November, Noem had written Perdue asking for a review of USDA’s legal opinion on Title IX in 4-H rodeo “as a mother who has had three children participate in the (4-H rodeo) program and volunteered for 16 years. . .”

“Whether it is barrel racing or calf roping, the difference between the male and female competitors can create unfair advantages,” Noem wrote Perdue last fall.

Cowan was reading Perdue’s letter late Tuesday: “We are obviously very happy about with this,” Cowan told the Capital Journal on Tuesday night.

But he wonders why local 4-H rodeo supporters weren’t told about this reported change last year in the way that USDA officials were looking at Title IX compliance.

“Obviously, USDA changed their position at some point and said ‘we are just going to follow what the Department of Education is doing and that is what we said all along.”

“But nobody bothered to tell us.”

Rodeo in South Dakota is not a partisan issue, necessarily, although Noem is running for governor this year. While her main rival might be fellow Republican, Attorney General Marty Jackley, the Democratic contender is legislator Billie Sutton, a former rodeo bronc rider.

Cowan said former U.S. Attorney Randy Seiler of Fort Pierre has been helping local 4-H rodeo supporters with legal advice.

Seiler, a Democrat, is running for state attorney general and has been a wealth of good counsel, Cowan said.

Cowan said he was grateful to Noem “for not only supporting us, but bigger than that, having enough guts to stand up for something she believes in, knowing it might not be popular with everyone.”

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Trump Signs Noem-Backed Anti-Trafficking Bill

2018/04/11

Rep. Kristi Noem today joined President Trump as he signed legislation to give law enforcement and victims more tools to fight sex trafficking. More specifically, the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (H.R.1865) would:

  • Allow states and victims to go after websites that knowingly facilitate trafficking;
  • Impose stiff penalties on those who own, manage, or operate a website that knowingly facilitates trafficking;
  • Increase penalties on those who traffic people or facilitate the trafficking of people; and
  • Clarify that the Communications Decency Act does not grant immunity to websites, like Backpage, that profit from the sale of our children.

“Traffickers have hid behind the internet’s anonymity, selling children for sex and profiting immensely from it,” said Noem. “For years, we have worked to build awareness around this issue. I’ve held summits in South Dakota, met with survivors who had been trafficked online, and pushed folks in D.C. to care enough to do something about this. With President Trump’s signature today, the internet will no longer be the haven for sex trafficking that it once was.”

In the days since Congress passed this legislation, Craigslist and Reddit have already shut down personal ads on their websites. Federal authorities also seized control of Backpage – a website notorious for facilitating trafficking – and indicted a number of its owners, executives and employees.

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After Noem Push, USDA Puts Controversial 4H Rodeo Rule Under Review

2018/04/10

After a strong push from Rep. Kristi Noem, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today informed her the agency would review its legal opinion of Title IX’s application to 4-H youth rodeo. Barring action from Noem, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was moving forward with the elimination of exclusively “boys” and “girls” events in 4-H youth rodeo, against the wishes of many within the rodeo community.

“The previous legal opinion was more about political correctness than the rodeo experience for the kids involved,” said Noem. “After months of pressure, the USDA finally listened to those actually involved in the rodeo, hit pause, and allowed South Dakota youth rodeo to continue to operate as it has for decades. I am grateful to Secretary Perdue for hearing us out and helping me push career bureaucrats to take South Dakota 4-H seriously.”

In November 2017, Noem wrote Secretary Perdue regarding the issue. She explained in the letter that: “Whether it is barrel racing or calf roping, the differences between the male and female competitors can create unfair advantages… As a mother who has had three children participate in the program and volunteered for 16 years, I respectfully request your department conduct a review of its legal opinion…”

Earlier today, Secretary Perdue wrote in response that it would withhold action while the U.S. Department of Education conducted a broader review of Title IX regulations. The Secretary further confirmed that “It would also not be appropriate for the USDA to take action against the traditional structure of South Dakota’s 4-H rodeos while this review is ongoing. 4-H may organize its rodeos in South Dakota as it always has.”

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Noem Statement on Sex Trafficking Website Shutdown

2018/04/07

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem today released the following statement after Backpage, a website known for facilitating human trafficking, was shut down by the U.S. Department of Justice:

“Children in South Dakota have been bought for sex over Backpage, and the website took pleasure in making money from it. We have worked for years to build awareness and put a target on this disgusting website’s back. Certainly, our fight against trafficking is not over. Every 30 seconds a child is sold for sex – sometimes online, sometimes not. But by shutting down what’s believed to be the largest online market for children, we take a significant step in the battle to end trafficking. Our kids are not for sale.”

In March 2014, Noem held her first anti-trafficking summit in Sioux Falls, launching what became a years-long effort to raise awareness about the occurrence of trafficking in South Dakota. In 2015, Noem pushed the House to pass the most comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation in a decade. The legislation included new tools for law enforcement and better support for survivors. In February 2018, Noem helped lead the House in passing the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, which would further expand opportunities for states and victims to bring cases against those who facilitate sex trafficking online. President Trump is expected to sign that legislation in the coming days.

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Noem: Getting Infrastructure on the Right Track

2018/04/06

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with employees of the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad (RCP&E) in Huron. In many respects, these individuals lay the groundwork for our state’s economic prosperity.

In South Dakota, we have more than 1,800 miles of operational railroad lines, over which roughly half of our agriculture commodities travel. When hiccups occur, farmers often feel the impact immediately in the form of an increased basis. If backups or delays are bad enough, the state’s entire farm economy can be impacted, especially if prices are low and producers have little wiggle room financially. It’s critical, then, that we make the investments necessary to upgrade and maintain our nation’s network of railroads.

Like many features of America’s infrastructure system, the country’s railways are aging. Private American companies, however, have made significant investments to repair and modernize lines. From a policy perspective, these are investments I want to incentivize.

One way to do that is through the Short Line Tax Credit, which generally offers a $1 benefit for every $2 of private investment. First enacted in 2005, the credit has helped spark $4 billion worth of private investment by regional railroads, including millions of dollars in South Dakota.

In fact, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association has held South Dakota up as an example of the credit’s effectiveness. They write: “the improvements made by the 670-mile Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad since it began operations in 2015 have already attracted over $311 million in new facility investments by six South Dakota companies. Those facilities employ 260 workers. This result is being duplicated in the 49 states that are served by America’s 603 short line railroads.”

But the credit expired in 2017. In response, I’ve cosponsored legislation to make the tax credit permanent and will fight to include that proposal in an upcoming tax package.

Additionally, I’ve been thrilled to see President Trump’s elimination of more than 1,600 unnecessary regulations, accelerating the pace at which developers can work. These same deregulation principles guided much of my advocacy in 2015, when we passed the first fully funded transportation bill in a decade and got it signed into law. The legislation cut red tape, streamlined rail project approvals, and increased support for highway-railway grade crossings.

But more can be done. President Trump has laid out an impressive infrastructure agenda to modernize our roads, bridges, and rails. More specifically, the president’s plan prioritizes investments in rural America, further reduces the regulatory burden, and puts a renewed focus on the skills training needed to fill construction jobs.

Much of South Dakota’s economy couldn’t operate without a robust railroad infrastructure. Thank you to all those who work so hard to move our commodities and goods efficiently, safely, and affordably. Read More

Recently Identified Pearl Harbor Sailor Honored

2018/03/31

Almost a century after his death, a Lake Preston resident is back home.

“A real great commitment to the military to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind and identify them so we can continue to honor them.  It’s impressive, especially this Easter season,” says South Dakota Lieutenant Governor Matt Michels.

Navy Water Tender 2nd Class Porter L. Rich was born in Lake Preston, South Dakota.

He was on the SS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attacks, and died at the age of 27.

His remains were unidentified for 75 years and was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

In 2015, the Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the analysis of the unidentified remains of those victims on the Oklahoma to be investigated further.

Scientists were able to identify Rich’s remains and bring him back to Lake Preston.

“The men and women that were killed in pearl harbor that sacrificed everything to make sure that we have the opportunity to raise our children and grandchildren in freedom.  So I’m just glad i could be here and wanted his family to know how much we appreciate them,” Representative Kristi Noem tells us.

Hundreds of navy sailors, Lake Preston community members including Porter Rich’s family and government officials gathered at Lake Preston High School to pay their respects to Rich and his family.

Lieutenant Governor Michels says prayers need to be sent for the military currently serving our country.

“We have some great heroes in South Dakota and we’re just recognizing one of them now.  We have many heroes that are alive today, serving us in the far east in our military that our South Dakotans.  our air and army guard individuals, daily we need to pray for them,” says Lieutenant Governor Michels.

After the funeral service, 2nd class Porter Rich was buried at Lake Preston Cemetery.

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Noem: Your Story Can Change Policy

2018/03/30

Never underestimate the power of your story to influence policy. It's advice I often offer those who ask what they can do to create change. Over the last month or so, dozens of South Dakotans have come to my Washington, D.C., office to do just that, for which I'm incredibly grateful. 

South Dakota soybean producers, for instance, dropped by as I was preparing for an international trade meeting with President Trump. They shared concerns about recent tariffs and potential countermeasures from the Chinese government, which I conveyed to the president. 

Later that day, FFA students opened up about how ag education in middle school and high school can inspire more kids to come home to farm and ranch. It's an idea I agree with wholeheartedly. 

Veterans also stopped by in March, raising concerns about VA care and the state's mental health resources, while leadership from Ellsworth briefed me on the base's role in meeting America's long-term security needs. 

Many of those visiting spoke about reforms within the education system - from early childhood education to graduate-level programs. School nutritionists discussed a bill I'm working on to grant them greater flexibility, ensuring kids have access to healthy, affordable and appetizing school lunches. Administrators from Hill City and elsewhere met with me about Impact Aid, a policy I support that helps make sure students in some rural areas have access to a good education. SDSU President Barry Dunn also updated me on the Wokini Initiative, which seeks to open more opportunities for tribal students to get a college degree. It's an incredible program that deserves support. 

Others visited with me about their support for Israel, the lifesaving work of first responders like Black Hills Lifeflight, and the work of the timber industry to improve the health of our forests. 

Workforce development and Medicare fee schedules were the topics of discussion during a meeting with South Dakota clinical lab managers, who are struggling to provide timely service in rural communities. 

And the Chairman and members of the Sisseton Wahpeton tribe shared their need for a new Justice Center, which I support and Congress funded a few weeks after our meeting. Without it, they are forced to let criminals go free. 

I am truly grateful to those who took the time to stop in. It means the world to me and helps me do my job as your representative. We have offices throughout the state as well, but it if you're ever in Washington, D.C., please contact my office and let us know. I'd love to meet with you, give you a tour, or be a resource to you while you visit. I hope to see you soon.

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Noem: Supporting Moms, Strengthening Families

2018/03/23

South Dakota has the nation’s highest rate of working moms with 84 percent being employed outside the home. For many families, both parents working is a financial necessity – one that comes with significant child care costs attached. In fact, by some estimates, child care in South Dakota costs about 28 percent of the average household income, or about $14,700 per year.

Many of these families qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which helps defray some child care expenses. During tax reform, however, some in Congress tried to eliminate the benefit. I had to fight hard to maintain the credit, but in the end, we were successful. Additionally, the Child Tax Credit was doubled to $2,000 per child, a win I worked closely with Ivanka Trump to achieve. These credits can make a real difference in people’s lives.

A few weeks ago, I spoke with a single mom who is getting another $80 every pay check because of tax reform. For her, that meant she had more breathing room and greater financial security. For her son, it meant a new pair of basketball shoes.

I’ve heard similar reports from others. Let’s say you’re a family of four making around $85,000 a year. Because of tax reform, you’ll be keeping an additional $2,400 in your pocket every year. That’s a new washing machine, a nice family vacation, or a good chunk of change for the kids’ college funds.

Of course, this financial peace of mind helps mitigate only one of the challenges working families face. Flexibility is another issue I’ve heard a lot about. For years, I’ve been working to get the Working Families Flexibility Act signed into law to help make balancing the demands of family, personal responsibilities, and the workforce a little easier.

This bill would give employees the opportunity to choose between taking overtime pay or receiving more paid time off. I’ve led the House in passing this bill multiple times, the most recent being in 2017, but the Senate has yet to consider the bill.

Additionally, in March of this year, I introduced legislation to help give expectant mothers additional flexibility, when needed. In the early 2000’s, Peggy Young was working for UPS. She became pregnant and was instructed not to lift anything over 20 pounds. She requested light-duty work, but was told “No,” even though accommodations were made for non-pregnant workers that had similar health-related restrictions. She couldn’t return to her previous role either, as it was a liability.

As a result, Peggy had to go on unpaid leave and lost her medical coverage. She filed a lawsuit against UPS, which has since changed its policy, but the court’s decision left a lot of questions. My bill works to clarify the law. It says a pregnant worker should be treated the same as a non-pregnant worker who may have a temporary disability and is therefore unable to perform certain duties. This bill takes a balanced approach, protecting mothers without imposing duplicative burdens on their employers.

I firmly believe our nation would be a whole lot stronger, if families were a whole lot stronger. Supporting working parents is an important step in achieving that. When we make these investments, we strengthen families and put the next generation on a trajectory toward success.

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Contact Information

1323 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2801
Fax 202-225-5823
noem.house.gov

Committee Assignments

Ways and Means

U.S. Representative Kristi Noem is a wife, mother, experienced rancher, farmer, and former small business owner. Kristi was born and raised in rural Hamlin County in northeastern South Dakota and still lives there today with her husband, Bryon, and their three children, Kassidy, Kennedy, and Booker.

Kristi learned the value of hard work early in life from her father. He put Kristi, her sister and two brothers to work on the family farm at a young age caring for the cattle and horses and helping with planting and harvest. After graduating from high school, Kristi began attending college at Northern State University in Aberdeen. When her father died unexpectedly in a farming accident, Kristi returned to the family farm and ranch full-time. Her father’s death left a huge absence, so Kristi stepped up and helped stabilize the operation and provided leadership when it was needed most.

Kristi’s work on the farm and ranch didn’t go unnoticed. In 1997 she received the South Dakota Outstanding Young Farmer award and in 2003 she was honored with the South Dakota Young Leader award.

Kristi’s experience as a small business owner shaped her understanding of government and its purpose. Too often, government is inefficient and ineffective, simply getting in the way of small businesses and entrepreneurs who wish to create jobs and grow our economy. Realizing this, Kristi decided to get involved to try and make a difference.

Her service includes the South Dakota State Farm Agency State Committee, the Commission for Agriculture in the 21st Century, the South Dakota Soybean Association, and numerous other boards and committees. In the fall of 2006, Kristi was elected as the 6th District Representative to the South Dakota House of Representatives.

Kristi quickly realized she could serve her district, and the State of South Dakota, more effectively in a leadership position. So in her second term she ran for, and won, the position of Assistant Majority Leader in the State House, where she served until 2010.

Kristi was first elected to serve as South Dakota’s lone Member of the U.S. House of Representatives on November 2, 2010.

While keeping up with her Congressional duties in Washington, D.C. and work with constituents in South Dakota, Kristi continued to take undergraduate courses from South Dakota State University. In December 2011, Kristi graduated from SDSU with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.

On November 6, 2012, Kristi was re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives where she continues to serve on the Agriculture Committee and House Armed Services Committee.

Kristi enjoys helping her daughters compete in rodeo and 4-H. She has been a 4-H leader for 14 years. Kristi is also an avid hunter. She particularly enjoys pheasant hunting on the homestead and archery elk with her brothers.


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