Today, Governor Kristi Noem signed Executive Order 2021-03 to merge the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, forming a new Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR).
“With this merger, we are fostering sustainable agriculture and conservation that we can pass on to our kids and grandkids,” said Governor Kristi Noem. “This merger will simplify life for South Dakota’s agriculture producers by creating a one-stop shop in state government. It will also save taxpayers money by streamlining the state’s regulatory bodies, eliminating redundancies, and creating a better customer service experience for all.”
Hunter Roberts, current Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources and acting-Secretary of Agriculture, will serve as the cabinet secretary for DANR.
“Governor Noem has a tremendous vision for the next generation of agriculture, and we’re excited to see it through,” said Secretary Hunter Roberts. “I’m excited for the synergies that this merger will create.”
Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden, who previously served as interim-Secretary of Agriculture, will continue serving in his current role of Agriculture Ambassador.
“Governor Noem and I are the only farmer/rancher duo in the country to be serving as Governor and Lieutenant Governor,” said Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden. “We are excited for the potential that this merger has to unleash the next generation of agriculture for our state. I look forward to continue working as an ambassador to the agriculture industry.”
In addition to other groups, the proposed merger has the support of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. Based on a vote of their convention delegates, representing county farm bureaus throughout the state.
“We believe this merger will make government work better for farmers and ranchers and will strengthen the future of agriculture,” said Scott VanderWal, President of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “The agriculture industry is continually evolving, and thanks to Governor Noem’s leadership, South Dakota continues to be on the leading edge of that evolution. There is no better time than now to solidify agriculture’s role in protecting our environment and natural resources while ensuring our industry in South Dakota remains economically viable and growing.”