Noem Merging DENR, Dept Of Ag

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is merging the departments of agriculture and natural resources, effective September 8th.

     Noem says the merger will streamline state government, improve efficiency, save money, and provide better service to state residents.

      She’s named Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources Hunter Roberts to head the new agency and to run both of them starting on the 8th. South Dakota’s been without an Ag Secretary since Kim Vanneman resigned in early May with Lt Gov Larry Rhoden filling in on an interim basis.

     Noem says agriculture is South Dakota’s #1 industry and that the merged department, under Roberts’ leadership, will serve producers “better than ever before.”

       Roberts operates a ranch, but was State Energy Director and worked as an ag policy advisor to then-Gov Dennis Daugaard before being named to head the DENR. He says as someone who’s worked in agriculture his entire life, it will be exciting to lead the combined department as it promotes the state’s #1 industry while simultaneously protecting its natural resources.”