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State agriculture department will merge with environment and natural resources department

(KSFY)
Published: Aug. 27, 2020 at 2:59 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - To streamline state departments, there will be a South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources starting Sept. 8.

Gov. Kristi Noem said that the former South Dakota Departments of Agriculture and Environment and Natural Resources will merge on Thursday.

Hunter Roberts, the current Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, will be tapped to oversee the new department. Beginning Sept. 8, and until the merger is complete, Roberts will serve as interim Secretary of Agriculture while continuing to also lead the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

“Lieutenant Governor Rhoden has stepped up to guide the Department of Agriculture through this important transitional time period, and I really appreciate his hard work and leadership,” said Gov. Noem. “Agriculture is our number one industry, and under Secretary Roberts’ leadership, this department will serve our producers better than ever before.”

Roberts is an owner and operator of the Roberts Ranch in Stanley and Lyman counties. He has worked in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development as state energy director and as a policy advisor for Governor Daugaard working on agricultural policy and overseeing the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. It is worth noting that Roberts’ grandfather, Clint Roberts, served as SD Secretary of Agriculture from 1979-80 during the first Janklow administration.

“I’ve worked in agriculture my entire life, and I am excited to lead this department,” said Secretary Roberts. “South Dakotans know that farmers and ranchers are the best conservationists, and this department will promote our number one industry while we simultaneously protect our natural resources.”

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