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Stace Nelson’s Community Organizing Stops Hanson County Mega-Dairy

Last updated on 2014.10.08

Concerned Citizens of Hanson County have beat back a proposal for a 7000-head mega-dairy near Fulton. After trying for over five years to bring this development to Hanson County, Brookings-based dairy developer Michael Crinion has withdrawn his application to the state Water Management Board for the huge aquifer withdrawals it would have needed to tend all those milk-makers. Last month, Judge Tim Bjorkman canceled Crinion's building permit, finding the county had illegally extended the permit beyond its proper term. Thus, if Crinion ever decides to renew his push to bring all those cows and all that cow poop to Fulton, he'll need to start from scratch on all the paperwork.

Embattled and often belittled State Representative Stace Nelson has played a key role in organizing the folks in his community to fight this mega-dairy. He grilled state Ag Secretary and dairy man Walt Bones at the dairy's hearing before the Water Management Board last year, driving Bones to an embarrassing case of near-perjury. Nelson's efforts on behalf of his neighbors triggered many of the political repercussions he suffered at the hands of his own party during the past year. Yet Rep. Nelson kept fighting for his constituents, rounding up legal support (over $25,000 of legal expenses covered mostly by local donations), making t-shirts for public demonstrations of opposition, and helping his neighbors realize their power to fight big money and big government to protect their county from cow crap.

Rep. Nelson says he's "ecstatic" that his neighbors have won and can put this issue behind them. I'm ecstatic, too, that Stace Nelson organized people in his community for positive action.

In other words, Stace Nelson is a community organizer, just like that nice Barack Obama fellow. And he and his organized community have done good. I'm pleased to see that Rep. Nelson has provided an excellent local example of how community organizers do fine and respectable work.


  1. Dougal 2012.09.14

    Stace for Guv! The incumbent is incapable of saying no to deep pockets.

  2. Justin 2012.09.14

    Nice victory for Stace and his constituents.

  3. Bill Fleming 2012.09.14

    Yup. Stace read the manual and ran the plan.
    He's a Saul Alinsky alumnus now.
    Move to the head of the class, big fella.
    (You old pinko, you.)
    (p.s. Cory, whatdya wanna bet he read Che's book too?)

  4. bob newland 2012.09.14

    An apparent case of moronic convergence.

  5. Justin 2012.09.14

    Was that the theme of the state convention or the RNC?

  6. larry kurtz 2012.09.14

    Gov. Johnson beats off rabid GOP attack in PA: WITF.

  7. Stace Nelson 2012.09.14

    Folks in my community know that my continued motivations remain love of my community.

    I am pleased to report that folks in my new district recognize that fact and have made the last year all worthwhile.

    The real credit goes to Rob Bender who is a saint amongst men and a Blessing to have as a neighbor and friend.

  8. Rorschach 2012.09.14

    A job well done Stace.

  9. Les 2012.09.14

    Stace has already been moved to the head of the class Flem. I'm guessing he'd be happy to have his old chair back, unless you're suggesting the new speaker Nelson?

  10. Les 2012.09.14

    BTW, congrats on standing as a voice to your constituents Stace with the victory for the little people.

  11. larry kurtz 2012.09.14

    Nelson would go outside his district to shill for a corportate dairy at the drop of a schizoid embolism.

  12. Les 2012.09.14

    Stop drinking the milk Larry.

  13. Roger Elgersma 2012.09.14

    Community organizing is DEMOCRACY.

  14. grudznick 2012.09.14

    Mr. Nelson is indeed a hero, but it is said that Bender fellow had to be escorted from the Legislatures for screaming at people and ranting incoherently. He is lucky to have Mr. Nelson in his corner and we can all hope he runs for higher office soon.

  15. grudznick 2012.09.14

    He just might be made the speaker of the legislatures over this!!

  16. Justin 2012.09.14

    I don't know who said he was escorted out, the account I read in the RCJ said he left of his own accord after David Lust called him a liar.

  17. Douglas Wiken 2012.09.14

    Well, Stace may be a good rabble rouser and like a stopped clock right twice a day. Even so, I hope he keeps stirring and keeps both Republicans and Democrats awake and aware. A polluted and contaminated South Dakota is no better than a New Jersey without the industry and jobs.

    Congratulations on the good work, Stace. Keep learning.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.14

    Justin's right, Grudz: Mr. Bender left that hearing in disgust, of his own volition. Rep. Lust's arrogant insult to a citizen on the record in the Capitol deserves contempt.

    Roger: Yes! Democracy is all about organizing the community! Hanson County's residents needed to organize and work together to protect themselves, their water, and their crumbling bridges from the damage Mr. Crinion's dairy would have done. Rep. Nelson's efforts show that community organizing is necessary and noble, not cause for insult. Rep. Nelson did the work of democracy here.

  19. grudznick 2012.09.14

    Cory says that Stace Nelson is just like that nice Mr. Obama.
    Best watch your back Mr. H. (grin)

  20. Justin 2012.09.14

    I've been known to criticize Stace, and I'll admit I snickered about the comment about being right twice a day, but I haven't seen any evidence of him attacking people in any way other than straight on and in the open.

    I take great pleasure in knowing that the gerrymandering (as behind the back as it gets) is going to backfire and create not one, but two legislators that oppose the old West River leadership.

  21. Charlie Johnson 2012.09.14

    Congratulations to Hanson County citizens. Organizing is hard work but also rewarding. Stace Nelson and others did a great job. There is nothing "Family Farm" about 7000 dairy cattle. There is nothing at all that resembles environmental stewardship with 7000 cows in one site. There is no regard for local property rights or local road infrastructure with 7000 dairy cattle on one site. Walt Bones was lamenting the loss of this 7000 head dairy in the news today. Where was the concern by him and others when most all small or mid size dairies left the business? Where is the leadership to bring even a handful of organic dairies to this state when in fact Wisconsin has over 500? Priorities on which direction our dairy industry is headed in this state is in the back end of logic-certainly not in the front end.

  22. Douglas Wiken 2012.09.15

    It has seemed to me for years that real liberals and real conservatives should be able to find common ground in preserving the local environment and in turn perhaps cooperating on more global environmental and climatological concerns. I don't know what was Stace's motivation for taking on this dairy, but perhaps he can explain that a bit and maybe in the process we can find a bit of common ground.

  23. Stan Adelstein 2012.09.15

    This is quite eyeopener to me! Now I know whey there so much pressure for me to back off on my Senate prime sponsorship of Stace's HB 1230. Somehow South Dakota is losing something - call it honesty and transparency - call peoples rights before someone's big dollar interest!

    This bill dealt with requiring wider dissemination of attempts to use an aquifer, and rights of protest. As an Engineer I knew it was a good bill and one that I would not wiggle on.

    The pressure was never about the content, always about the House sponsor - Stace! Like, "Stan, don't you see whose bill it is?" or like "we can't pass a Nelson bill, etc, etc." I always replied that I had studied hydrology (such as it was in the dark ages) and knew enough to be sure that it was good law --- and wasn't that why we were in Pierre?!?! So I did not give a "f-ig" who the sponsor was - beside I might be wrong, but "wasn't Stace Nelson elected the same way you were?" "If he was, then he is just looking out for his constituents, like you should be"

    Anyway, I got the bill through the senate (with votes of others who agree why we are supposed to be in Pierre - cold or not).

    But, but what is going on? Now I read all of this I ask what in the -- is happening? I never saw anything like this in the Rounds or Janklow administrations -- and I was kind of in the know. My only embarrassment is, that at my age and with my business experiences I should have known what some people were trying to do.

    Good job Stace.

    Stan Adelstein - sometimes a better informed Senator than at other times

  24. Les 2012.09.16

    Senator, there are few in the legislature who could or would write with the openess you did. Thanks!

  25. Tim Begalka 2012.09.16

    Thanks Sen. Stan, I enjoyed your comments. I was one of those "Yes" votes that helped get it through Ag committee,and the Senate floor. I was wondering why you didn't show up that day to pitch your own bill,was it the "pressure" or did you forget?! I hadn't even heard of the bill until that day, and Stace pitched it himself. As I recall,this House bill was amended in Senate Ag. All the "Ag" lobbyists present were mildly opposed to it in its original form,and more-or-less neutral as amended. I do recall the Senate debate as well,when one speaker ranted that we should be opposed to it because of the prime sponsor.
    As for comparing Nelson to Obama as a community "organizer",there are obviously huge differences.(Stace can correct me if I'm wrong). Stace lives in that community,he wasn't hired from out-of-town. He did it voluntarily,not paid with Federal tax dollars like some ACORN-type. And also unlike the acorn nuts he wasn't promoting an extreme political agenda with someone else's money, such as helping people skirt housing,voter registration, and prostitution laws.(These are all well-documented by Congressional investigations).

  26. Stace Nelson 2012.09.16

    Pretty sure Sen Adelstein and I discussed the hearing ahead of time. The Sec of DENR was in full opposition mode for the administration, at the House hearing. I do remember some interesting opposition to the bill at the hearing by a couple legislators. Sadly, we had to settle for amendments to the bill that weakened some of the protections of South Dakotan's water rights that we were trying to get in.

    I will have to go back and listen to the Senate floor debate.

    Glad principles won the day in the Senate. Thank you both for not succumbing to petty politics.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.17

    Always throwing those ACORNs...

    Tim! Community organizers are not evil. Hanson County happens to be lucky to have a competent and motivated community organizer in Stace Nelson living in its midst. Not every community is so lucky. Sometimes a community needs some outside perspective to get its organizing engine going. Barack Obama did that in Chicago. He helped community members work for their interests, and he stayed and became a member of the community.

  28. Charlie Johnson 2012.09.17

    I wish also that we would throw away the "Acorn" label. After college , I worked as a small farm advocate(for Center for Rural Affairs) from my home in madison. Yes my work involved community organizing. I was provided a $129/ week stipend through a Vista grant. Perhaps if I was running for US president also, I would be one of those Acorn nuts also!! Of course,......

  29. Steve Sibson 2012.09.17

    "Community organizers are not evil."

    Some are, some not.

  30. Steve Sibson 2012.09.17

    "Barack Obama did that in Chicago."

    Obama did in Chicago what he is doing today...create hatred toward white male Christians...cultural Marxism.

  31. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.09.17

    O.K., Steve, so maybe we're making progress. You seem to be admitting that being a community organizer isn't really a problem. The problem arises with the political goals of community organizers. That's fine. We can have that argument. But can we agree that the Republican strategy of snickering at the label "community organizer" is not just silly, but harmful to encouraging people to take on the community organizing that Stace Nelson's activities show is so valuable?

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