DEBATE REACTION: Noem Defends the Indefensible

Congresswoman Kristi Noem has failed to pass a farm bill.

That was the overarching theme of today’s debate at Dakotafest in Mitchell between Noem and Democratic challenger Matt Varilek.

“The debate made clear that Matt Varilek is fighting for South Dakota farmers and ranchers, and Congresswoman Noem isn’t doing her chores on behalf of our agriculture community,” said Ben Nesselhuf, Chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, after the debate.

Congresswoman Noem had a lot of explaining to do for the agriculture community during the debate. Noem missed 16 of 20 Agriculture Committee hearings during the creation of this year’s farm bill. With severe drought crippling South Dakota farmers and ranchers, Noem skipped town before passing a farm bill that included stronger protections for our agriculture community. Worse yet, Noem then backed out of a bipartisan effort to override House Republican leadership to force a vote on the Farm Bill.

“No one wants to leave an event feeling disappointed,” continued Nesselhuf. “But the crowd of farmers and ranchers at the debate left with a noticeable feeling of disappointment with Noem. Noem was put on the defensive and quite frankly her actions in Congress were just indefensible.”

For more information, please contact Chairman Ben Nesselhuf at 605-202-1005 or


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