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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

U.S. Senate Candidate Dykstra Discusses Ag Issues at Dakotafest

From today's mailbag:

Mitchell, S.D. - Senate Candidate Joel Dykstra talked about agricultural policy at Dakotafest on Wednesday in a debate boycotted by Senator Tim Johnson. Dykstra used the debate to discuss important issues facing South Dakota's farmers and ranchers, and also touched on what he believes are the real reasons why his opponent has ruled out all debates and candidate forums. Dykstra said, "Dakotafest was our first opportunity of the campaign season to engage in a public debate about the real issues of this campaign. Now South Dakota voters will be denied the right to see us side by side and consider how Senator Johnson and I differ on various policies. The Senator is depriving South Dakota voters of a traditionally important part of South Dakota elections."

Dykstra also pointed out that Johnson's campaign decision makers would rather avoid all candidate debates than have Johnson defend his 22-year voting record in open forum. "They're calculating that the public will not hold him accountable for their refusal to let him have that discussion in public and I think that's unfortunate. I also believe it's wrong."

Dykstra talked about how agriculture, the state's number one industry, is being negatively affected by the current energy crisis. He supports a comprehensive solution that includes expansion of renewable energy especially bio-fuels and wind energy. "Farmers are part of the solution to the energy problems in America and through increased production of renewable fuels we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Instead of exporting billions of dollars that supports hostile dictators who are trying to destroy America we can support South Dakota farmers, ranchers and land owners to produce renewable energy at home." Dykstra said a comprehensive approach to energy also includes more domestic drilling, something his opponent has repeatedly voted against.

Dykstra said there is no sector of the economy that is hit harder by high energy prices than agriculture and that in turn hurts consumers in the form of higher food prices. "Prices for petroleum based products like diesel fuel and fertilizer are at record highs. These higher input costs are taking much of the profitability out of the higher market value producers may be receiving for their commodities."

Dykstra also addressed other agricultural policy issues such as implementation of the new farm bill, country of origin labeling, international trade agreements and the food verses fuel debate.


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