Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem

SOUTH DAKOTA

Weekly Column: Thoughts from Dakotafest

2017/08/18

Farming is one of the only businesses where you take out massive loans at the beginning of the year, bury that money in the ground in the form of seed and fertilizer, then hope and pray there’s something to harvest in the fall. Despite the risk, it’s important we grow our own food, and that understanding has made the Farm Bill a bipartisan priority for decades. But as cities grow and families get further from America’s agricultural roots, it’s increasingly challenging to build support.

In 2014, I had to fight members of my own party to get the Farm Bill done, and I was proud the final legislation included a strong safety net for producers and a meaningful livestock disaster program. With the 2014 Farm Bill expiring in a little over a year, we’re beginning debate on what the next Farm Bill will look like, hopefully building in enough time to educate non-rural policymakers about why agriculture safety nets are necessary.

At Dakotafest this year, I had the opportunity to hear from producers about what they’d like to get out of the upcoming Farm Bill debates: what’s working, what isn’t, and what can be done about it.

Josh, a rancher near Wall, talked about the drought, its impact on his operation, and areas where disaster programs could be better. Many ranchers had to downsize their herds because they couldn’t access good feed, given the drought. Meanwhile, in other parts of the state, farmers were forced to destroy good hay that was harvested as part of certain CRP management practices. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s what current policy requires.

Earlier this summer, I introduced the DRY Act, which would allow farmers to donate this hay to ranchers suffering from bad droughts or fires. It’s commonsense, and I’d like to see it included in the next Farm Bill.

I also heard from Mike, whose homestead near Hecla is older than South Dakota itself. As Mike put it, he’s always “two weeks from a drought and one night from a flood,” so even though it’s been a dry year, he had some serious concerns about the wetland determinations process.

Wetlands are protected for conservation purposes. If property is determined to be a wetland, certain changes – such as laying drain tile in a field – are not allowed without a landowner losing the ability to participate in federal Farm Bill programs and crop insurance. The determinations process has a history of backlogs, and in some cases, it can take years to get everything straightened out. That doesn’t work, which is why I wrote the Wetland Determinations Efficiency and Transparency Act. This legislation, which I’m hopeful will be in the next Farm Bill, aims to better ensure producers get timely determinations.

I also had a lot of discussions about various aspects of CRP. Many young farmers, for instance, are concerned that the ag economy can change significantly from year-to-year, and if CRP rates aren’t updated quickly enough, they can distort local rental markets, making it difficult to access productive farmland. Earlier this month, I introduced the Fair CRP Payment Act to better ensure CRP rates accurately reflect the current cost of renting farmland.

These legislative proposals are only the beginning. We’re working on a number of other bills as well, but I want to keep hearing from you about what more is needed. If I missed you at Dakotafest, catch me at another event. Call my office. Send an email. Now is the time to start setting the parameters for the next Farm Bill.

With each Farm Bill, fewer and fewer policymakers have a connection to agriculture. I like to remind them that while not everyone farms, everyone eats. Even still, it’s a tough climb. But I’ll keep fighting. 

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Noem Looks to Break Cycle of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Trafficking

2017/08/17

Rep. Kristi Noem today met with local advocates and law enforcement officials at the Compass Center in Sioux Falls to discuss strategies to help break the cycle of violence and trafficking in South Dakota. Noem was joined by advocates from the Compass Center, Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Department, South Dakota Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, New Colossus, and the Sioux Falls Police Department. 

“Around one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, and as the mom of two daughters, that’s a cycle I’m committed to breaking,” said Noem. “Whether a woman faces violence at home, on a college campus, or as the result of a human trafficker, I want to ensure organizations like the Compass Center have the resources and flexibility necessary to provide a way out and a hope for the future. Alongside their efforts, we must make sure survivors are supported. Because women who experience violence are more likely to fall into poverty, our anti-poverty programs must be effective in giving them a path to upward mobility.”

“Sexual and domestic violence are hard topics to discuss, especially as a community. The facts are that South Dakota ranks second in the United States for number of forcible rapes per capita,” said the Compass Center Executive Director, Michelle Markgraf. “The Compass Center appreciates having Rep. Kristi Noem on our campus and hosting a forum to discuss these issues. Her willingness to bring attention to these tough issues is vital to increasing awareness and finding solutions.”

Among other areas, the group discussed the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and advocacy groups, which many noted South Dakota does better than other states. The need to better support mental health and rehabilitation services - particularly in rural communities - was also a main topic of discussion. 

Additionally, Noem highlighted proposed investments into the Office of Violence Against Women, which provides much of the federal grant funding for domestic violence shelters, including those attending today's roundtable. Under the current House proposal and President Trump’s proposal, support for the Office would increase by  $20-$70 million over FY2017 levels, even though overall government spending would decrease.

The Compass Center provides crisis intervention, advocacy, counseling, and prevention education service to those impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

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Noem Advances Farm Bill Reforms at Dakotafest, Drives Forward Tax Reform and Trade Proposals

2017/08/16

South Dakotans weigh in on proposals... Read More

Noem Introduces CRP Payment Fix

2017/08/11

Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced the Fair CRP Payment Act to better ensure CRP rates accurately reflect the current cost of renting farmland.

“Growing up, my dad always talked about how important it was to have access to land, because, as he would say, ‘God isn’t making more of it,’” said Noem. “The ag economy can change significantly from year-to-year, and if CRP rates aren’t updated quickly enough, they can distort local rental markets and make it difficult for farmers – particularly beginning farmers – to access productive farmland. I’m hopeful this legislation will ensure producers don’t have to compete with unfair CRP rates.”

CRP payments are based on county rental rate averages. Currently, the National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) conducts rental rate surveys every other year, resulting in slow reactions to market changes. Under Noem’s Fair CRP Payment Act, rental rate surveys would be conducted annually to more accurately reflect rate changes.

Last week, Noem joined members of the House Agriculture Committee for a Farm Bill listening session to hear from producers about changes needed in ag policy. In addition to today’s legislation, Noem has introduced the DRY Act and the Wetland Determinations Efficiency and Transparency Act, which are all being considered as the Farm Bill moves forward.

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Weekly Column: Economic and Workforce Development Go Hand in Hand

2017/08/11

It’s been a while since we’ve heard optimism about the economy. The unemployment rate is hovering around 4 percent. The economy is consistently producing more than 200,000 jobs per month. Nearly 7 in ten Americans feel good about where the economy is headed – that’s up five percentage points since June alone and comparable to what folks felt in the early 2000’s, according to a recent CBS News poll. Even the New York Times posted a headline that read: “Jobs Roar Back.”

While momentum must continue on key growth issues like regulatory relief and tax reform, we must also focus on another area: our workforce. Are young people getting the training and qualifications they need to compete and win in this new, modernized, and growing economy? Too often, the answer I hear is “not quite.”

In South Dakota, we are incredibly blessed to have a network of tech schools that provide training for the most in-demand jobs. Recently, WalletHub ranked us as having the nation’s best system of community colleges. So, this August, I stopped by Lake Area Tech in Watertown to discuss with local businesses and educators what makes South Dakota stand out.

At Lake Area Tech, 99 percent of graduates are employed after graduation, and they’re often landing good jobs, earning around 25 percent more than other new hires. What makes the difference? For one, South Dakota tech schools, like Lake Area Tech, are providing quality training and education. But they are also putting in the work necessary to connect those educating our workforce with those hiring our workforce. That connection can be instrumental to a student’s success.

This partnership between educators and employers ought to be a model for the nation. Earlier this year, I helped pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act through the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation takes many of the ideas that are working at places like Lake Area Tech and creates an infrastructure for them to work nationwide.

More specifically, the legislation would better align education with in-demand jobs. It does so by lifting some of the barriers that discourage strong partnerships between job creators and educators. It also grants states and local community leaders more flexibility in using federal education dollars, opening opportunities for innovative learning experiences. Finally, the bill would increase transparency to ensure career and technical education programs are delivering real results.

These are smart reforms that I’m hopeful the Senate will take up soon, so we can get them to the president’s desk.

There’s a lot of focus right now on economic development, which is necessary and a good change of pace from the previous administration. I’m going to continue to build on the successes we’ve had repealing job-killing regulations while also pursuing tax reform that leaves more money in people’s pockets and helps businesses create jobs and increase wages.

But alongside economic development, we have a responsibility to pursue workforce development. America’s most valuable asset is – and always has been – our people. We are hardworking and smart. We take pride in a “Made in America” label. And we live by a set of values that celebrate freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility. By continuing to innovate new, more effective workforce development programs, we can help Americans from all walks of life not only find good-paying jobs, but meaningful careers they can grow in.

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Noem Talks Tax Reform with South Dakota Manufacturer

2017/08/08

Rep. Kristi Noem today visited Manitou Americas in Madison, South Dakota, touring the manufacturing facility and discussing the impact of tax reform. Employing more than 200 employees in Madison, Manitou Americas manufactures Gehl and Mustang brand skid loaders.

“The work ethic of South Dakotans is second to none, and that is clear in the quality of products manufactured in our backyard at places like Madison’s Manitou facility,” said Noem. “Because of a broken tax code, however, American-made products are often at a competitive disadvantage – a reality that has tremendous impacts on the hardworking people who design, innovate and assemble these products as well. My goal with tax reform is to put more money in the pockets of taxpayers by lowering tax rates across the board and creating a competitive economy where job creation and wage growth become the norm.”

“It’s been great to be able to host Congresswoman Kristi Noem and to share some of the challenges that manufacturers are faced with,” said Dustin Williams, Plant Manager at Manitou Americas in Madison. “Manufacturing is a global endeavor now more than ever before, and the competition is fierce.  Over the past 60 years, the percentage of Americans involved directly or indirectly in manufacturing has declined from 1 in 4, to less than 1 in 10 today.  Because our country is faced with some of the highest corporate tax rates of any industrialized country, tax reform would be a very positive step toward leveling the playing field for manufacturing companies like ours.  We appreciate Kristi’s focus on this key issue.”

Noem is the first South Dakotan in history to serve on the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax and trade policy. In June 2016, the committee released a comprehensive blueprint of a once-in-a-generation tax reform proposal. Working together with the Senate and the White House, the proposal aims to:

  • Grow jobs and paychecks nationwide by lowering tax rates at every income level, separating wage income from small business income, and leveling the playing field for American businesses and workers to compete.
  • Make the tax code fairer and simpler by increasing the standard deduction, eliminating the maze of unfair special interest loopholes, and ending the death tax.
  • Help middle-class families by consolidating tax brackets, preserving and simplifying family-focused provisions, and encouraging savings and investment.

Independent analysis by the Tax Foundation found the proposal would help create around 5,000 jobs in South Dakota and increase take-home pay for the average household in the state by around $4,700.

For more on the House tax reform proposal, please visit waysandmeans.house.gov/taxreform Read More

Noem Highlights Workforce Development Efforts at Lake Area Tech

2017/08/07

Rep. Kristi Noem today hosted a roundtable in Watertown with local job creators and educators to discuss South Dakota’s workforce development needs. During the event, she heard from area business leaders and administrators at Lake Area Tech about the work already being done, the potential impact of a recent House-passed bill to support career and technical education, and the lessons learned in South Dakota that could be shared nationwide.

“We need to build stronger relationships between those training our workforce and those hiring our workforce,” said Noem. “South Dakota’s tech schools, including Lake Area Tech, have done a tremendous job educating folks for good-paying, in-demand jobs, but we must keep the momentum going. I’m grateful to everyone who participated today and offered insight on building opportunity for South Dakotans in a growing, modernized economy. Academia and business can’t operate independently of each other, which makes discussions like today’s so important.”

In June 2017, Noem helped pass H.R.2353, the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, through the U.S. House of Representatives. While the legislation awaits Senate action, the bill would:

  • Empower state and local community leaders by simplifying the application process for receiving federal funds and providing more flexibility to use federal resources to respond to changing education and economic needs.
  • Improve alignment with in-demand jobs by supporting innovative learning opportunities, building better community partnerships, and encouraging stronger engagement with employers.
  • Increase transparency and accountability by streamlining performance measures to ensure career and technical education programs deliver results, empowering parents, students, and stakeholders with a voice in setting performance goals and evaluating the effectiveness of local programs.
  • Ensure a limited federal role by reining in the secretary of education’s authority, limiting federal intervention, and preventing political favoritism.
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Weekly Column: It's been dry...

2017/08/04

It’s been dry to say the very least. Every county in the state has experienced this year’s drought to some degree, with many facing severe or extreme conditions. Well over half of South Dakota’s wheat is in poor or very poor condition, as is most of our barley, oats and alfalfa. Corn and soybeans are hurting too.  Meanwhile, many pastures have been brown for some time, leaving ranchers with a severe feed shortage and forcing many to downsize their herds.

Every farmer and rancher understands agriculture is a risky business. You can have good crops for a decade, but one or two bad years can change everything. Times like this underscore the importance of providing a safety net to those who maintain our food supply.

Earlier this month, I joined members of the House Agriculture Committee for a Farm Bill listening session where these safety nets were a primary focus. During the 2014 Farm Bill debate, I fought hard as a member of the final negotiating team to strengthen crop insurance and make the Livestock Forage Program permanent, because ranchers should have some certainty about the safety nets available when drought conditions leave wheat heads unfilled and pastures bare. At the same time, taxpayers deserve certainty too. By building safety-net programs like this into the budget rather than doing crisis-by-crisis emergency spending, we can better predict financial needs and avoid deficit spending.

Additionally, I’ve been pleased to see Secretary Perdue incrementally open South Dakota’s CRP acres for haying and grazing, following a request I made to do so. He also allowed for certain CRP contract holders to donate their hay to livestock producers in drought-stricken counties. This relief was needed, but I believe this is an area where ranchers ought to have more certainty. In late July, I introduced the Donations in Rough Years (DRY) Act. This bill would permanently allow the hay harvested on certain CRP acres to be donated to ranchers struggling to meet their feed needs.

Droughts and fires can leave thousands of acres bare, while farmers and ranchers elsewhere are forced to destroy good hay. There’s just no reason feed should be wasted. The DRY Act offers a commonsense solution. More specifically, the bill would allow for hay harvested in line with CRP management practices to be donated to ranchers suffering from a severe drought (categorized as D2 on the U.S. Drought Monitor) for eight weeks or an extreme drought (categorized as D3) for any length of time.  If a presidential disaster is declared due to fire, ranchers would also be eligible to receive donated hay.

Too often, the federal government waits until a situation gets bad before figuring out how to deal with it. In situations where days matter – such as in the midst of a drought-induced feed shortage – relief can come too late. We should be more proactive. That’s why it was important to fight to strengthen crop insurance and make livestock disaster programs permanent. It’s also why I believe the DRY Act is necessary.  It won’t make the rain fall, but perhaps it can give a little peace of mind at a very unpredictable time.

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Conaway, Noem: Convince House majority to vote for farm bill

2017/08/03

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., pointed out at a farm bill listening session in Minnesota today that only about 35 members of the House are now from farm districts, and that rural members will have to convince enough urban and suburban House members to get a majority of House members to support the next farm bill.

The statements were significant because a number of attendees at the farm bill listening session at Farmfest in Morgan, Minn., told a panel of 11 House members that the nutrition and conservation titles are vital to making the argument that the bill has provisions for the general public, not just farmers.

Noem, who has left the House Agriculture Committee to take a seat on the Ways ad Means Committee, noted how few rural districts there are left, and said she talks about the bill "from a national security standpoint."

Conaway also noted that he has to "convince" the members from urban and suburban districts to vote for the bill.

Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Papp said it is important to connect both food and weather to the farm bill, noting he had weather-related crop loss this year and that "I will be able to farm again next year because of it."

During consideration of the 2014 farm bill, the Republican leadership separated the nutrition title from the farm bill and held separate votes, but then had to put the bill back together for the Senate to consider it.

Both Conaway and House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said they are determined to finish the next bill before the 2014 bill expires on September 30, 2018, and preferably this year. But Peterson said meeting that schedule '"depends" on scores from the Congressional Budget Office.

Of the 11 members who traveled to Minnesota for the event, Peterson singled out Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Pa., for attention. Peterson noted that Evans made the trip even though he had to deal with a canceled plane and does not have a single farmer in his district, which encompasses northwest Philadelphia and suburbs.

"There is a direct connection between farmers and consumers. They need each other," Evans said, noting that he is on the House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee.

Over a two-and-a-half-hour session, a series of farm, nutrition and conservation leaders asked for the continuation of programs in the farm bill. Beginning and organic farmers were more prominent than commodity group leaders. Several meat industry leaders testified about the need for both animal disease prevention and vaccine programs.

There were disagreements about whether crop insurance subsidies should be capped, with several speakers emphasizing the importance of helping beginning and smaller farmers.

At the end of the event, Conaway noted there were differences and that it would take the "wisdom of Solomon" to write the bill.

But speaking of himself and Peterson, Conaway said, "You've got two CPAs. We are going to get this thing done and done on time if either of us have anything to say about it."

Conaway concluded with his usual note of concern about the moral condition of the country.

Citing founding father John Adams, who said that only a moral and religious people can self-govern, Conaway asked whether, when people ask America to be blessed, "Can we bless the killing of 57 million babies in the last 44 years?"

He also said that people "deify" entertainers in Hollywood and expressed concern about the breakup of families.

Noting that he lives by the Judeo-Christian "code," he told the attendees, "You and I have to step into the breech."

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Noem, Ag Committee Listen to Producer Insight at Farm Bill Field Hearing

2017/08/03

Rep. Kristi Noem today joined members of the House Agriculture Committee at a listening session on the next Farm Bill. The committee members and Noem heard from producers at Minnesota Farm Fest on a wide-range of issues, including the need for a strong crop insurance program and livestock disaster assistance.

“America’s farmers and ranchers produce the safest, most affordable, and most abundant food supply in the world. But every year, their operations are threatened by drought, flood, heat, frost, fire and more. The amount of risk is incredible,” said Noem. “The safety nets contained within the Farm Bill are critical for this reason. I am grateful to the producers who shared what’s working and what needs improving in ag policy today. Hearing from them at this stage is critical. I’d also like to thank Chairman Conaway for his early start to the Farm Bill debate and for inviting me to participate in today’s listening session.”

Noem served on the House Agriculture Committee from 2011 to 2015, helping to usher through the 2014 Farm Bill during her tenure. While continuing to work on the upcoming Farm Bill, Noem currently serves as one of the only members of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee from a rural community.  

In July 2017, Noem joined Rep. Kevin Cramer and House Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson in introducing the bipartisan Wetland Determinations Efficiency and Transparency Act, which aims to make the wetland determination process more efficient, accountable, and transparent.

Later that month, she introduced the DRY Act, which would permanently allow the hay harvested on certain CRP acres to be donated to ranchers suffering from drought or fire.

Both are being considered as individual bills as well as part of the upcoming Farm Bill debates.

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Bill looks to permanently expand CRP hay donation

2017/08/01

Rep. Kristi Noem (R., S.D.) introduced the Donations in Rough Years (DRY) Act, which would permanently allow the hay harvested on certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres to be donated to ranchers suffering from drought or fire.

“Droughts and fires can leave thousands of acres bare, while farmers and ranchers elsewhere are forced to destroy good hay. There’s just no reason that feed should be wasted,” Noem said. “With this commonsense legislation, I’m hopeful we can better use the resources available when facing drought or fire while also providing a stronger safety net for our food supply.”

The DRY Act would allow for hay harvested in line with CRP management practices to be donated to ranchers suffering from a severe drought (categorized as D2 on the U.S. Drought Monitor) for eight weeks or an extreme drought (categorized as D3) for any length of time. The legislation also allows for such donations to producers residing in a county that has been declared a disaster area by the President due to fire. The donations may be made only to ranchers located within the same state as the hay was harvested.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest Drought Monitor, more than half of South Dakota is experiencing a severe drought, and around 15% of the state is experiencing an extreme drought.

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South Dakota Cattlemen's Association Backs Dry Act Legislation

2017/08/01

South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem has introduced the Donations in Rough Years or DRY Act. The measure would permanently allow hay harvested on certain CRP acres to be donated to ranchers suffering from drought or fire. South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director Jodie Anderson says her group welcomes any assistance that will help producers during drought or disasters.

She says on the surface the legislation make sense.

Anderson is hopeful Noem’s measure could be included in the next farm bill to go along with other disaster relief that’s already included for farmers and ranchers.

Under the DRY Act, the donations may only be made to ranchers located within the same state as the hay was harvested.

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Noem receives Friend of Farm Credit Award

2017/07/31

The AgriBank District Farm Credit Council (ADFCC) presented its 2017 Friend of Farm Credit Award to U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota.

Noem received the award for her important work on behalf of rural communities, agriculture and the Farm Credit System. ADFCC members are among more than 600 people in the nation’s capital to take part in Farm Credit Week in Washington. Participants are talking to members of Congress about issues important to farmers and ranchers in AgriBank’s Midwestern District.

“The leadership Congresswoman Noem provided through her previous service on the House Committee on Agriculture, and now the Ways and Means Committee, is critical to the well-being of our rural communities and our agricultural producers across the country,” said Kim Vanneman, who owns and operates a diversified farming operation including row crops, small grains, finishing feeder pigs and a commercial beef-cow herd in Ideal, S.D.; and is a director of Farm Credit Services of America. “We especially appreciate her support for strong risk-management programs, strengthening the livestock disaster program and investing in agricultural research.”

Farm Credit also announced the “One Mission. Many Voices.” campaign this week. During the next 18 months, the campaign will use the voices of Farm Credit customers, directors, employees, and others to tell policymakers about the many ways that Farm Credit helps farm families and rural communities across the country. (farmcreditvoices.com)

Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. Farm Credit has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for a century by providing farmers with the capital they need to make their businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information about Farm Credit please visit www.farmcredit.com.

The AgriBank District Farm Credit Council represents Farm Credit farmers and ranchers in a 15-state area from Wyoming to Ohio and Minnesota to Arkansas. About half the nation’s cropland is located within the AgriBank District.

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Noem Helps Introduce New Tools to Combat Suicide in Indian Country

2017/07/31

Rep. Kristi Noem joined Reps. Raul Grijalva, Tom Cole and others in introducing H.R.3473, the Native American Suicide Prevention Act. The suicide crisis in Indian Country has had heartbreaking impacts on many tribal communities in South Dakota.  Nationally, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 10-34 year old Native Americans and Alaskan Natives. For ages 15-34, suicide occurs at a rate 1.5 times higher than the national average for that age group.

“Lakota Instructions for Living teaches ‘the hurt of one is the hurt of all,’” said Noem. “Tribal communities in South Dakota have had to experience the hurt of losing a loved one to suicide far too many times in recent years. While I understand there are no words that can wipe away this pain, I want to make sure we have the tools in place to better prevent such hurt in the future. By supporting a more collaborative approach, I’m hopeful this legislation will lead to more effective interventions going forward.”

The Native American Suicide Prevention Act supports stronger collaborations between state and tribal governments in crafting and implementing suicide intervention and prevention strategies.

This legislation follows work Noem did last Congress to promote mental health services within tribal communities.  In 2015, Noem brought one of Congress’s leading voices on mental health, Rep. Tim Murphy – a psychologist, to Pine Ridge to meet with those fighting the tribal suicide epidemic.  Because of their partnership, new provisions were drafted to help support and prioritize Native American suicide programs. These provisions were signed into law as part of the 21st Century CURES Act.

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Noem Moves to Permanently Expand CRP Hay Donation during Droughts, Fires

2017/07/28

Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced the Donations in Rough Years (DRY) Act, which would permanently allow the hay harvested on certain CRP acres to be donated to ranchers suffering from drought or fire.

“Droughts and fires can leave thousands of acres bare, while farmers and ranchers elsewhere are forced to destroy good hay. There’s just no reason that feed should be wasted,” said Noem. “With this commonsense legislation, I’m hopeful we can better use the resources available when facing drought or fire, while also providing a stronger safety net for our food supply.”

The DRY Act would allow for the donation of hay harvested in line with CRP management practices to be donated to ranchers suffering from a severe drought (categorized as D2 on the U.S. Drought Monitor) for eight weeks or an extreme drought (categorized as D3) for any length of time. The legislation also allows for such donations to producers residing in a county that has been declared a disaster area by the president due to fire. The donations may only be made to ranchers located within the same state as the hay was harvested.

According to the latest USDA Drought Monitor, more than half of South Dakota is experiencing a severe drought. Around 15 percent of the state is experiencing an extreme drought.

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Weekly Column: Pushing Forward

2017/07/28

We’re a little over six months into President Trump’s first term, and regardless of what national pundits might say, the House has been systematically ticking through a conservative, pro-growth agenda. Altogether, we’ve passed more than 250 bills, a handful of which have been proposals I wrote. President Trump has signed more than 40 of these bills into law – more so than many presidents at this point in their administration.

One of the largest areas of success – and least reported accomplishments – has been on the de-regulation front. Through the Congressional Review Act, Congress has the authority to repeal regulations. Prior to 2017, however, the provision had been used successfully just once. But this year, we’ve passed more than a dozen provisions under the Congressional Review Act that, when taken together, have saved hardworking Americans billions of dollars.

As we’ve reduced regulations and outlined pro-growth policies, the economy has reacted with hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Alongside economic development, I’ve fought for greater workforce development, helping the House pass the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act, which would expand our commitments to vocational and technical education training.

At the same time, we’ve put America’s national security first. A year ago, we had an administration that prioritized climate change over terrorism and refused to call our enemies out for what they are: radical Islamic terrorists. Those attitudes have changed, as has our allocation of resources. Earlier this summer, for instance, I helped the House pass an annual defense bill that offered our troops a 2.4 percent pay raise (the biggest increase in eight years). The legislation also boosted end strength and provided needed aircraft, ships and systems.  Additionally, we maintained the commitments made to our ally, Israel.

On the border, we’ve seen illegal crossings decrease by 60 percent. Much of this is due to a tougher U.S. stance. I was proud to help the House pass Kate’s Law, which created harsher penalties for those who repeatedly cross the border illegally. We also passed legislation to crack down on sanctuary cities by withholding certain federal grants. Moreover, I’m supporting another bill that would go even further, deploying additional personnel and new technologies to the border.

The House has also passed legislation to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered solutions. We approved more than a dozen bills to combat human trafficking in our communities. We passed legislation offering the resources necessary to build a strong border wall, invest in our military, and stop the EPA’s controversial Waters of the U.S. rule. And we ok’d the bipartisan Presidential Library Donation Reform Act, which would help eliminate the secrecy surrounding some donations to organizations like the William J. Clinton Foundation.

Despite the House’s action on these items, the Senate has faced repeated delays and distractions from their Democratic colleagues, making similar progress difficult.

This isn’t to say the House doesn’t still have work to do. I continue to drive progress on reforming our tax system in a way that simplifies the code; promotes economic growth for businesses, families and individuals; and holds the IRS more accountable. I am working closely with the House Agriculture Committee to develop the next Farm Bill. I’m also working on legislation to combat poverty and promote financial independence and upward mobility, while fighting for fundamental changes to the way the Indian Health Service operates. We need to make progress on driving down spending and getting our budget on track as well.  But I am not about to slow down. We need to keep pushing forward.  Read More

Noem, House Pass Bill to Build Border Wall, Invest in Military, Support Vets, Stop WOTUS

2017/07/27

Rep. Kristi Noem today joined the U.S. House of Representatives in passing H.R.3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act. Among other initiatives, the legislation fully funds President Trump’s request for a wall along the southern border. It also offers service members a 2.4 percent pay raise (the largest increase in eight years); strengthens support for the Department of Defense, making investments into updating equipment and weapons; and bolsters the VA’s ability to care for veterans. Additionally, the bill authorizes the EPA to withdraw the controversial Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.

“Today’s legislation supports some of the federal government’s most fundamental responsibilities: our common defense, our national security, and our veterans,” said Noem. “We offer the resources necessary to build a strong border wall, invest in our military, and support those who have served. At the same time, by authorizing the EPA to ditch the WOTUS rule, we take yet another step toward eliminating the harmful, regressive, Obama-era regulations that have shackled small businesses, farmers, and ranchers for far too long.”

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Noem Seeks to Bring Greater Integrity to IRS Hiring with New Legislation

2017/07/27

Rep. Kristi Noem, a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, today introduced the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act, which would prohibit the IRS from rehiring an employee who has been fired for certain forms of misconduct. The legislation comes in the wake of a Treasury Department report released this week that shows the IRS rehired more than 200 former employees between January 2015 and March 2016 that had previously been terminated for misconduct or performance issues.

“This is about having a basic respect for hardworking taxpayers,” said Noem. “An agency with access to our most sensitive financial data has repeatedly rehired employees who had already been fired for things like accessing taxpayer information without authorization, threatening their coworkers, or repeatedly falsifying documents. If the IRS won’t instill commonsense hiring practices within the agency, we will work to write them into law.”

The Treasury Department report found “former employees were selected for rehire without fully considering prior conduct and performance issues.”  The report went on to detail examples of the misconduct that was overlooked:

  • “Two rehired employees had repetitively falsified employment forms by omitting prior convictions or terminations.”
  • “Two rehired employees were previously terminated for failure to maintain a successful level of performance in multiple critical job elements as tax examining technicians. However, both of these employees were rehired as tax examining technicians less than six months later.”
  • “One rehired employee had several misdemeanors for theft and a felony for possession of a forgery device.”
  • “Another rehired employee had threatened his or her co-workers.”
  • “Three rehired employees had ‘excessive’ absence without leave for more than 270, 150, and 140 hours respectively.”

Moreover, around 7 percent of those rehired faced new conduct or performance issues within one year.

Noem first introduced the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act in the 114th Congress. While the legislation was passed with broad bipartisan consensus in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2016, the legislation did not receive a vote in the U.S. Senate before the 114th Congress gaveled to a close.

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Noem Introduces Legislation to Reduce Poverty, Promote Financial Independence

2017/07/26

Rep. Kristi Noem today introduced two bills that aim to improve the outcomes of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the country’s primary assistance program for low-income individuals and families.

“The best poverty reduction program out there is a good job,” said Noem. “Unfortunately, today’s programs too often perpetuate poverty rather than opportunity. This legislation aims to bring greater integrity and accountability to the TANF program while reaffirming its core mission: offering upward mobility and the opportunity for greater financial independence to hardworking Americans.”

The Improving Employment Outcomes of TANF Recipients Act, aims to increase the employment, job retention, and earnings of TANF recipients. To accomplish this, Noem’s bill would base a portion of the TANF block grant on a state’s success in helping TANF recipients enter, retain, and advance in employment.

Meanwhile, the TANF Accountability and Integrity Improvement Act, aims to bring more accountability to the program.  More specifically, TANF currently requires states to ensure 50% of program recipients participate in work-related activities, such as working, searching for a job, or training for one.  If states spend more than the federal government requires, the 50% threshold can be decreased.  In extreme cases, the threshold can be reduced to 0%. 

Some states are counting third-party spending as “state spending” and driving their apparent investments to artificially high levels.  As a result, those states don’t need as many TANF recipients to be engaged in work-related activities in order to continue receiving full federal funding.  Under Noem’s legislation, states would no longer count spending by third parties as state spending, meaning states would need to engage more adults in work-related activities in exchange for federal benefits, as the program was originally intended.

Of note, South Dakota does not count third-party spending as state spending in order to reduce the portion of TANF recipients engaged in work-related activities.

“We need to ensure other states follow South Dakota’s example,” said Noem.  “By continuing to engage participants in work activities at the level intended, South Dakota has upheld the integrity of the program and ensured the support we provide through TANF is support that really helps struggling families.”

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State wishes Guard soldiers well at deployment ceremony

2017/07/24

When the 15 soldiers of the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 200th Bridge Training Team board a plane headed for the middle east later this year, they’ll do so with the knowledge that their state cares about them.

That was the message recited early and often Saturday during the team’s activation ceremony held at the T.F. Riggs High School theater. The event included remarks from a host of dignitaries including a Governor, a Senator, A U.S. Representative and a mayor. Not to mention a couple of Army officers.

The 200th Bridgie Training Team consists of 15 soldiers from the South Dakota National Guard’s 200th Engineer Company, which is stationed in Pierre, Chamberlain and Mobridge.

The Governor in this case was Dennis Daugaard who is winding down his second and final term as South Dakota’s Governor. He praised the skill and dedication show by all South Dakota National Guard soldiers and airmen saying they are well regarded throughout the nation as being among the best at what they do.

“Here in South Dakota guard units understand what it takes to be the best,” Daugaard said.

Former South Dakota Governor and now U.S. Senator Mike Rounds also spoke during Saturday’s ceremony. He recounted the story of one of the first deployment ceremonies he participated in as Governor. That ceremony also was for members of the 200th Engineer Co. and they were heading for Iraq to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“I realized some of the soldiers could have been playing on my kids’ nintendo a few weeks earlier,” Rounds said.

That experience, he said, served to drive home just how big an impact a National Guard deployment can have on a community.

South Dakota’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kristi Noem, took a few minutes to say she knew the 200th Bridge Training Team would serve with distinction over the nine months it will be in the Middle East.

Pierre’s Mayor Steve Harding, himself a retired National Guard Colonel, said the community of Pierre well remembers the service members of the 200th Engineer Company rendered them during the 2011 flood.

“I can tell you when the 200th rolled into town you could about hear the sigh of relief,” Harding said.

That help and reassurance wouldn’t go unreturned, he said.

“I can assure you, your family and friends that you’re entrusting to the community will be taken care of,” Harding said.

The 200th Bridge Training Team first will be sent to Fort Bliss in Texas to finish a round of training before heading overseas later this year.

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Noem Talks Farm Bill at Dakotafest (KELOLAND)

2017-08-17 14:51:34


Noem Focuses on Human Trafficking Awareness at Rapid City Event (KEVN)

2017-08-01 16:44:25


Noem Talks Human Trafficking in Rapid City (KOTA)

2017-08-01 16:43:56


Noem Introduces the DRY Act (KELOLAND)

2017-08-01 16:43:22


Noem Talks Drought Relief (KEVN)

2017-07-24 20:23:24


Noem Questions VanderWal on Tax Reform's Impact on SD Ag

2017-07-13 17:43:27


Noem Welcomes SD Producer to Testify on Tax Reform before Key Committee

2017-07-13 16:36:50


Noem-Backed Anti-Trafficking Bills Pass House

2017-07-12 21:34:49


Following Noem Request, USDA Opens CRP for Haying (KNBN)

2017-07-11 17:37:00


House Passes Noem Bill to Protect Families Challenged by Drug Abuse (KEVN)

2017-06-30 17:36:09


Noem Urges USDA to Act Quickly in Delivering Livestock Forage Program Relief

2017-06-23 20:19:14


Debate Begins on Noem’s IHS Reform Bill

2017-06-21 19:24:26


Noem's Women, Peace, and Security Act Passes House

2017-06-20 22:22:19


House Passes Noem's Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act

2017-06-20 22:02:26


Noem: China’s Acceptance of U.S. Beef Imports Is a Welcome Change for the Market (KNBN)

2017-06-16 16:20:34


Noem Discusses IHS Reform Bill (KSFY)

2017-06-12 16:59:58


Noem Presses HHS Secretary on Need for Health Care Reform

2017-06-08 18:51:44


Rep. Noem Introduces New IHS Reforms (KELOLAND)

2017-05-26 18:47:20


Noem Applauds DOE for Revoking Deep Borehole Field Test Proposal (KELOLAND)

2017-05-26 18:16:03


Noem Applauds DOE for Revoking Deep Borehole Field Test Proposal (KSFY)

2017-05-26 18:14:36


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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