Sec. Sonny Perdue’s Visit to South Dakota Can’t Hide Horrible Record

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue will visit South Dakota today, with stops in Brown County and Timber Lake this afternoon. A cabinet secretary visiting South Dakota would normally be cause for celebration; unfortunately, in less than a year in office, Secretary Perdue and the Trump Administration have compiled a horrible record on issues important to South Dakota’s farm families.

“Sec. Perdue, President Trump, and congressional Republicans want to tear up trade agreements important to creating demand for our agricultural products and slash programs vital to rural communities in South Dakota and around the country,” said Sam Parkinson, South Dakota Democratic Party Executive Director. “When it comes to supporting South Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers, Sec. Perdue, President Trump, and congressional Republicans — including Rep. Kristi Noem and Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune — are all hat and no cattle.”

Here is a closer look at the horrible Perdue/Trump/Republican record:


  • As the head of the USDA, Sonny Perdue should be looking out for our nation’s farmers and ranchers. Instead Trump and Perdue continue to turn their backs on South Dakota farmers every chance they get.
  • In recent weeks, the Trump administration announced the rollback of two rules that worked to ensure basic protections for South Dakota family farmers and ranchers.


  • Trump’s dangerous agenda is dismantling critical agriculture programs in South Dakota and across the country.
  • The Trump budget takes aim at key agricultural programs that have benefited South Dakotans for decades.
  • In fact, over the next 10 years, Trump’s budget would slash over $46 billion from the agriculture sector — including deep cuts to federal crop insurance programs.
  • The deep cuts for crop insurance programs would prevent some farmers from insuring their entire acreage, leaving farm families across our state without the safety net they deserve as they feed and fuel the world.
  • Trump’s budget would also cut funding for USDA’s scientific research on farming and food safety by $165 million.


State Budget

  • ​1/3 of our state budget depends on federal sources of funding. Trump’s budget would mean drastic cuts to essential programs for farmers, SNAP recipients, sick children, and college students, among others.

Farm Conservation Programs

  • Trump’s budget calls for a 20 percent cut to farm conservation programs, which injected $128 million into South Dakota last year.

​Community Development Block Grants

  • Trump proposed eliminating community development block grants, a move that would cut $6.4 billion of federal funding from South Dakota.

​Low-Income Heating and Energy Assistance

  • Trump’s budget would cut programs that help low-income South Dakota homeowners with their heating, cooling, and energy bills.
  • ​The Weatherization Assistance Program has helped more than 186 South Dakota families with insulation upgrades, duct work sealing and other improvements through local aid agencies.
  • South Dakota receives $17.3 Million through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
  • 2016: 22,175 people in South Dakota relied on LIHEAP to help pay their energy bills and keep the heat on during the winter.

Subsidies for Rural Airports

  • ​Trumps Budget seeks to cut subsidies for rural airports in half, threatening air service in Aberdeen, Pierre, and Watertown.

​Access to Clean Drinking Water

  • Trump’s budget would eliminate a program dedicated to helping rural communities maintain access to clean water.
  • The USDA’s Water & Waste Disposal Loan And Grant Program financed a well that residents in southwest South Dakota rely on and helped fund improvements to water, sewer, and solid-waste systems in the state’s rural communities.
  • FY 2016: South Dakota received $19.61 million from USDA’s Water & Waste Disposal Loan And Grant Program.

Payment In Lieu of Taxes Program

  • ​Trump proposed a 17 percent cut for the Payment In Lieu Of Taxes (PILT) Program, which compensates rural counties for basic services they provide on non-taxable federal lands, and was a critical funding source for those counties’ emergency And basic services.
  • FY 2016: South Dakota received $6.3 million through the PILT Program, with nearly one-fourth of all PILT money allocated for Pennington County.

The Trump Budget also slashes funding for economic development, teacher training and recruiting, after-school programs, and college affordability.


  • Both the Trump budget and the Congressional budget call for deep cuts to programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps.
  • SNAP helps 96,000 South Dakota families and workers stay out of poverty and keep healthy food on the table.
  • Almost 75 percent of SNAP participants in South Dakota are in families with children.
  • More than 48 percent of SNAP participants in South Dakota are in working families.
  • Almost 27 percent of SNAP participants in South Dakota are in families with members who are seniors or have a disability.
  • In 2016, SNAP benefits added $145 million to South Dakota’s economy, because families spend their SNAP benefits at local grocery stores and other retailers.


  • Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would have raised net farm income by$4.4 billion per year.
  • Trump threatened to withdraw from the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Deal, which would have had “devastating consequences for the nation’s soybean farmers.”
  • Trump is threatening to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a move opposed by farm lobbying organizations, market analysts and trade experts because it would devastate the farm economy.
  • The uncertainty is already depressing prices for U.S. grains, as our trade partners seek other sources. For instance, Mexican orders for corn were down by 6 percent this summer, and orders of soybeans were down by 15 percent.