The South Dakota Department of Agriculture and the Legislature are brewing up another scheme to favor Big Ag over small farmers. This time, they want to take away your property rights.
Take a look at House Bill 1048. It's innocuously branded an act " to revise and repeal certain provisions related to the Department of Agriculture." It eliminates South Dakota's rules on labeling potatoes and grading butter. (Mmm... potatoes... butter....)
But HB 1048 also repeals SDCL 38-1-44 through 38-1-50, some important property protections and due process rights for farmers. Current law says that if Monsanto or someone else holding a patent on genetically modified seed thinks a South Dakota farmer is infringing on that patent by saving seed, and if the patent-holder wants to gather evidence to use in hauling that farmer into court, the patent-holder must first contact the farmer, get the farmer's permission to enter his land and take samples, follow state rules in collecting the samples, and share the test results with the farmer.
HB 1048 repeals those rules. HB 1048 says Monsanto can enter a farmer's land any time, gather whatever seeds they want, and use the information they get from those seeds however they want. Wow: HB 1048 violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing a search of private property without court authorization or probable cause. It also violates the Fifth Amendment by infringing on a defendant's protection against self-incrimination.
Try this comparison: suppose Pat Powers thinks I'm violating his copyright. He can call me up and give me hell. He can take me to court and ask the cops to search my stuff for nefarious misappropriation of his intellectual property. But he can't climb in my window while I'm at work and grab my computer.
But the full House voted unanimously to allow Monsanto to jump your fence, tromp around on your corn and soybeans, and cut up your crops. Monsanto's intellectual property rights matter; South Dakota farmers' Constitutional rights... not so much.
Senate Agriculture, are you guys paying attention? Reread House Bill 1048, and see if you really want to subject South Dakota farmers to warrantless searches by corporate agents.