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South Dakota Eyes Ag Cuts

Proposal would increase fees, eliminate state fair funding.

South Dakota budget cuts may be significant for agriculture.

Here's what's on the table to help balance the state's budget:

A $1 million cut in the $8.5 million the S.D. Cooperative Extension Service receives from the state.

Elimination of $750,000 in funding for the State Fair. Some fair supporters fear without the state money, fair will close.

$400,000 in nursery, seed and dairy inspection fees. Dairy alone accounts for $300,000 of the total. While dairy producers and milk and cheese plants currently pay fees for inspections and other services, the fees don't cover the total costs. The state has been kicking in approximately $600,000.

In addition, the Department of Agriculture has cut in-state travel, banned out-of-state travel, imposed a hiring freeze and eliminated capital purchases.

The cuts are before the legislature, which will be meeting through March.

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