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Kent Peterson (Supplied photo)

Serving South Dakota to advance agriculture

I am a fifth-generation farmer, working alongside my dad and brother at our farm north of Salem, S.D. We have a cow/calf operation, a backgrounding feedlot and a row-crop operation where we raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa. My wife, Cindy, and I have two children: a son, Alex, 6, and a daughter, Maddie, 4. I'm lucky enough to get to take them to school every day that I am not in the Legislature, where I will be serving on the State Affairs and Ag and Natural Resources committees.

My two kids are the reason I serve. I know the decisions we make today will have a tremendous effect on what their tomorrows will look like, and I don't take that lightly. I am also a strong advocate of all things ag. I've pushed for ag development during my time in the Legislature and was a key advocate for getting the Raven Precision Ag Center at South Dakota State University approved during last year's session.

The South Dakota Legislative Session kicked off last month with Gov. Kristi Noem's inaugural State of the State Address. Gov. Noem highlighted several initiatives and ideas she would like to see addressed this legislative session. She talked about increasing access to broadband in rural areas, increasing pheasant habitat, finding ways to kickstart our economy, dealing with the meth epidemic, and continuing to advance the ag industry in South Dakota.

Gov. Noem also introduced a new initiative called Dakotaplex, which would help with the affordable housing shortage in towns with populations fewer than 5,000. If implemented, communities will be able to purchase duplex, triplex and quadplex units manufactured at the state prison at Springfield. The governor also talked about increasing the amount of career counseling available to our high school students and finding ways to increase the number of mentorships and apprenticeships available to students.

I look forward to tackling the issues that come before us this year. Over the next few months, I am providing monthly updates to Agweek and will try to highlight issues important to agriculture and the rural way of life that we all have come to love.

Kent Peterson is in his third term representing District 19, which includes Bon Homme, Douglas, Hanson, Hutchinson, and McCook counties, in the South Dakota House of Representatives. He farms and ranches in Salem, S.D.