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New South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources expected to streamline processes, save money

Agriculture & Natural Resources
Agriculture & Natural Resources
Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 11:43 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Governor Kristi Noem announced that the South Dakota Department of Agriculture will merge with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to create the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The current state Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Hunter Roberts will head the newly formed department.

“The main reason to combine the two departments is to create efficiencies and a one-stop spot for our environment and our agricultural groups so by bringing the experts from both sides, we really think we have a good nexus to provide a better service to citizens in the state of South Dakota.”

He says the merger streamlines the process by which its customers are provided services.

“I have an ag product that spills in the ditch like fertilizer. Currently, the Department of Ag and Natural Resources will go out and inspect and do a report on that, but do we really need two different agencies to do a report on that? Perhaps we will be able to have one inspector do a report on that and make sure we get the environment covered and the regulatory side from the department of ag as well.”

Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden has been serving as the state Interim Secretary of Agriculture since May. He will return to his regular duties after the merger.

Roberts said the state would save money with the move.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for saving money, I think,” he said.

Roberts will become the interim secretary of the new department on Sept. 8. The department merger becomes permanent on Apr. 1 of next year.

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