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SB 155: Big Ag CAFOs Seek Road Subsidy from State

Senate Bill 155 challenges my political sensibilities. SB 155 would establish a "local government road improvement grant fund" to rebuild local roads and bridges. As you bump along to work this morning, you'll likely agree our state needs to invest more in our infrastructure. With just one dissenting vote in the Senate last week, SB 155 shows our legislators may have to will to solve some practical problems.

But here's the catch: SB 155 only fixes roads built to serve new agricultural facilities. If the road out to your farm or subdivision is going to heck and your township can't afford to repave it, the state won't help. But if Big Ag wants to build a big stinky pig CAFO near your house, the state will rush to pay for fixing the road to the hog-chute door.

I like investing in infrastructure, but investment focused on one industry seems narrow-minded. Just as with education, we have a common interest in paying for shared public services. But if one new or expanding business alone requires a major upgrade in a road, perhaps instead of socializing that cost, that business should bear a greater portion of the burden for that improvement. Perhaps instead of a state grant, funding for such single-business favoritism should come from a special tax assessment on that single business.

Senate Bill 155 looks like just one more way for the state government to pressure local officials into accepting South Dakota's Butzian ag policies. And what better pressure can Pierre exert than dangling cash in front of strapped townships?

SB 155 goes before House Local Government tomorrow (Tuesday) morning, 10 a.m. Neighbors, if you want more funding for your local roads, call those committee members and say so. But ask them to expand their vision and make these funds available for all local governments that need to improve their roads and bridges, not just for favors to Big Ag.

Of course, if SB 155 does pass as is, be sure to drop by that new CAFO down your new road and remind the Big Ag magnates that "You didn't build that!"


  1. owen reitzel 2013.02.25

    Big business comes first in South Dakota

  2. Mark Schuler 2013.02.25

    Oooooh! Aaaaaah! The new buzz word "local control"! A phrase Lucas Lynch used when he was pitching for sb 155 during Krebbs pitch for approriations to fund sb 155!! There is no local control! More than likely, they will be appointed by proponents for sb 155!! Will it be a balance of yays and nays on this board, " to have this conversation" (another buzz phrase) and to "put some skin into it"( another phrase used during the hearing) all in the name of local control?? From what i've gathered from listening to these hearings, I'd put my money on "not".. These words or phrases were used loosely and were used to save face!! As a tax payer, i'd fire the whole bunch!

  3. joelie hicks 2013.02.25

    Don't fire Stace Nelson! The only one with the guts to vote 'no". And he is a Republican.

  4. gail strobl 2013.02.25

    I wonder how big the governor's bed is, and if all those people in there with him get breakfast? Of course, it would have to be served by those big out-of-state companies - and it would make it so much easier to kiss you know what when they are all in the same place!!

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.25

    Mark, Lynch talked about local control? What part of SB 155 expands local control?

  6. rollin potter 2013.02.25

    I have wrote letters to the editor and e-mailed the senator from my district with the idea to tax the farmers X amount per bushel that they produce to fix up the roads that they tear up with there overloaded semis that are taxed $12 a wheel with a maximum of 4 wheels the same as the little cars in the towns who never leave the city limits. Tax the mega dairies X amount per gallon they produce that there semis and overloaded milk trucks tear up the township and county roads that the tax payers paid for in the first place.
    Tax the ethanol producers X amount per gallon that they produce for all roads there trucks tear up that the tax payers paid for in the first place. Tax deaugards cheese factories so much a pound for all the cheese they produce and there trucks tear up hauling milk in and cheese out of there tax payer subsidised plants!!!!!!!

  7. Mark Schuler 2013.02.25

    caheidelberger; i re listened to the audio, a couple of times and there is no expansion of local control. D. O. T. implementing funds and guidlines for the type of road needed to access the cafo being built. Local control referenced to township and county boards applying to the D.O.T for funds to build said roads accessing the new cafo's. Local control being township and county boards. Sorry for the confusion on my part. Thank you for bring it to my attention.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.25

    Oh, Mark, I don't think you were confusing me. I think Lynch was doing that if he was saying this bill expands local control. Sure, your township can build another road, but they don't get to prioritize other roads that go to a new manufacturing plant, call center, service station, or any other business complex you can think of.

    And Rollin, those semis get taxed the same as my Bug?

  9. Tom W 2013.02.26

    Who is Lucas Lynch? Never heard of him.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.26

    Might Mark mean Lucas Lentsch, former SD ag official?

  11. Tom W 2013.02.26

    Kind of funny. Come post on the forum acting like you are credible and cant even get a name correct. Says alot about a person.

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.26

    Ad hominem and irrelevant, Tom (unless you want to discuss how we might get your name wrong, given just a "W"). If Mark only heard the name, that's not an unreasonable mishearing. Not everyone is an industry insider who has all the lobbyists and players committed to memory. And it says little about the basic argument about government favors for the ag industry.

  13. rollin potter 2013.02.26

    Hey Cory that is right!! The state maximum is $4 per wheel or $16 per vehicle whether you have a 4 wheel BUG or a 22 wheel road wrecking overloaded trailer!!!!!!

  14. joelie hicks 2013.02.26

    Rollin, you are singing my song!
    Mark is a thorough and articulate individual, but he is not much of a speller. But I would say thorough and articulate trumps spelling.

  15. gail 2013.02.26

    People need to go out and listen to hearings on the computer. Then they would understand why you don't get names right. Do not criticize unless you have listened to those hearing and tried to keep up with everything.

  16. Douglas Wiken 2013.02.26

    The wheel tax limited to the first 4 wheels is insane idiocy coupled to completely corrupt crony capitalism. The heavy trucks do thousands of times as much damage per mile of driving as do cars and pickups.

  17. Steve Sibson 2013.02.26

    In case you all don't know it, this bill is being pushed by feed cheap milk to the French cheese maker.

  18. larry kurtz 2013.02.26

    you have such a unique way with language, steve. 4:20 for you Mitchell folk in three minutes.

  19. Taunia 2013.02.26

    I mentioned 4:20 in my "Diaries" once.

    Since we're busting on everyone's grammar, that is.

    This post is a long ways from the post a few days ago about Charlie Johnson/Johnson Farms being awarded Organic Farmer of the year. Unfortunate that CAFOs do not have a land (water, air, crop/food) preservation purpose instead of a money motive, the bane of capitalism. If they did, we'd be going all granola-munching, socialistic, liberal, vegetarian green. Like a lot of other countries, whose economies - and roads/infrastructure -are in better shape than ours.

  20. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.26

    So does anyone give out CAFO of the Year awards?

  21. joelie hicks 2013.02.27

    Not exactly Cory. But most of the awards given by the grain and livestock associations are just that. Charlie J. Had a link to a 46,000 acre spread that just went through involuntary bankruptcy. That fellow was some magazine's 'Farmer of the year '.

  22. Mark Schuler 2013.02.27

    So what happens to sb 155 now? If I understand right, it goes to Senate appropriations? If you listened to the meeting on sb 155 yesterday, Stace Nelson was the only one that stood up for the people of S. Dak.! And I see Mark Leddy is employed by Valley Queen as a Lobbyist, subject; all interests related to Valley Queen. And Lucas Lentsch ( not Lynch as I spelled it, my mistake) is a lobbyist for S. Dak. Dairy Products Alliance, subject of interest; Dairy Processing, Authorization Received; 1/14/2013, hired by Mark Leddy! Now I printed the bill out; SENATE APPROPRIATIONS ENGROSSED NO. SB 155- 02/19/2013. "FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to establish a local government road improvement grant fund for the purpose of serving new agriculture facilities and to make an appropriation therefor." This bill is only for the purpose to build roads for NEW ag ventures. thats what is states in the first sentence. Rep. Nelson stated this also! He was the only one who read this bill. Other proponents were using words like, all county and township roads and bridges, as if its intended to fix all roads. As I read the bill, it states only new agricultural facilities. So I am confused, as its worded, its a selection process, big new ag facilities with foreign or other state monies, with S. Dak. making promises to draw them here, against farmers who already live here, and pay taxes for the state to make unfair playing field. My tax dollars being spent to bring in my competition, which will increase all costs for me to survive! Why does S. Dak. have to follow? Why can't they lead? "Leaders are born, followers are made"!

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.27

    That's right, Mark: House Local Government voted to move the bill to House Appropriations. The SB 155 page does not list a hearing time yet. But it will be heard in that committee before going to the House.

    And yes, the bill as written spends state money (your money) only for new facilities. Now I would assume that if you build a new facility, you can see about your township getting some road money to your new building. But if you don't expand, you'll be paying for roads for your competitors who do expand.

  24. joelie hicks 2013.02.27

    Can I get a new road to the new place I start? 6 goats, 2 pigs and a horse? If this thing passes every one who wants to start a tiny place should petition their twp to apply to the state for the cash.

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.27

    Hee hee! Joelie, as written, SB 155 can make road funds available to serve an ag operation putting up "a new building or structure, or the expansion of an existing building or structure". But don't get too excited: it also authorizes the Dept. of Transportation to work up criteria for eligible facilities. You'll probably need to show your 6 goats can create a whole bunch of jobs.

  26. Jana 2013.02.27

    Hey SD Dem Party. Be sure and add this one to the list to use in the next campaign to highlight how the GOP Senators and Representatives think that the big corporate farms are more important than the small family farm.

    Heck, be bold and follow the money. Track the lobby dollars.

    Ask these legislators why they think that the CAFO is more deserving of taxpayer money than small farmers. Find a few small family farmers who have asked to have even small improvements made to their roads only to be told no!

    Show the faces of the people who are paying to improve the conditions of their competition and the faces...if they have one...of the CAFOs.

    Need help? Ask Stace Nelson how powerful an organized group can be in standing up to GOP favoritism.

  27. Earl Hanson 2013.02.28

    Can anyone tell me why the West River legislators would vote for SB155? How will this benefit anyone west of the river? It appears they have all had a lobotomy and are blindly following the Governor.

  28. Charlie Johnson 2013.02.28

    Part of the problem is that many good Democrats signed on to the bill also. If it gets back to the Senate, it may lose some votes but the house needs to defeat it.

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