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Yankton County to Big Ag: Pay for Your Own Market Research

Speaking of corporate fascism, big dairies are getting another government handout from South Dakota. Planning and Development District III is spending taxpayer dollars to identify good locations in its 16-county jurisdiction for mega-dairies and other concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Oops—make that 13 counties. Yankton County is one of three PD3 members with the good sense to say no to doing capitalists' work for them:

Commissioner Allen Sinclair cited such concerns in opposing the idea of PDIII conducting the study on behalf of the state.

“I don’t think that a County Commission should be out there identifying sites for any commercial activity,” he said. “It’s for the people doing the activity to do their own homework. They should be the ones identifying sites. I’m going to have a real problem endorsing a County Commission activity of this nature.”

Sinclair said the County Commission should become only become involved through the zoning process. Even if it is only giving permission for a study, that could be seen by some as an endorsement of sites identified in the research during a zoning dispute in the future.

“It’s a business deal, and the business people behind it, whether they are banks or the Ag Department, can do any type of study they want to do,” Sinclair said. “But don’t involve the County Commission until you’re bringing it to us for a thumbs up or down based on our rules and regulations” [Nathan Johnson, "County Declines to Join in Ag Study," Yankton Press & Dakotan, 2013.07.02].

Our state already spends too many tax dollars to favor a handful of big businesses. Yankton County isn't shutting the door on state-subsidized CAFOs (though it should!), but at least it is telling the big dairy and feedlot operators to do their own market research.


  1. kurtz 2013.07.08

    The SDGOP War machine is getting a pantload of mileage out of the border wars while selling Brookings County as an investment haven as Spanish speakers produce the milk needed for a French-owned cheese factory: how conservative.

  2. mike 2013.07.08


    I suppose this gives a neighboring county a shot at luring this group in but that's the way it's supposed to be!

  3. Richard Schriever 2013.07.08

    It's refreshing to see an elected official who knows what the government's - and his own - job actually is - and is not.

  4. Kathy Tyler 2013.07.08

    Grant, Brookings, and Moody counties did the same thing. All it did was cause hard feelings and create chaos. But I have to admit I've learned a lot about CAFO's...none of it good. I'd be happy to share my research. Both sides need to be looked at...please.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.07.09

    Kathy, we could all benefit from seeing your research. Send us links! Have you found anything that would motivate legislation for the 2014 session?

  6. Kathy Tyler 2013.07.09

    The PEW Foundation did a major research project. Here are the results: Another site is Of course there are extremists on both sides, and you have to sift.
    Have I been motivated for 2014 legislation? Yes, very personal issues--6500 hogs, 144,000 piglets per year in my back yard. I've learned more about zoning, CAFO's, antibiotics, and economic development than I ever thought I would. The
    I'm looking at a task force to study the DENR's CAFO permitting process. Included in that will be odor/air pollution controls. The technology is here to help w/odor control; why aren't we using it? I could go on and on....feel free to contact me with issues, questions, concerns, etc.

  7. Mark Schuler 2013.07.09

    What ever happened to good ole fashion inventorship? Making an idea a reality through planning, research and hard work? It seems to me the legislature (South Dakota and Washington) is making a hostile enviroment for ag. A us (S. Dak. farmers) against them(corprate ag) mentality! Passing legislation making it harder for the farmers and easier for corparate ag. Now I think a STRONG ag economy is best for S. Dak. to move S. Dak. forward in the future. People like to eat and have food. But to do it at the expense of the taxpayer makes no sense to me! How is passing the burden and risk on to the taxpayer helping S. Dak? If there was money to be made in dairy or hogs, the S. Dak. farmers would be raising them. But because of market swings (lack of rain, high corn prices, alf fields being put into corn,etc.) makes it hard to make a profit. And legislation favoring vertical intergration in poultry and hogs. Look at Washigton, D. C., too big of government and all of the abusives that have shown up! I think the the people of S. Dak. are catching on and are becoming more aware of whats happening at Pierre and there local commissionors meetings. I don't understand why big cafo's are good for S. Dak.. It seems to me that they don't approach it as a business, only what they can receive in help from the taxpayer to make it cash flow. And it seems even funnier to me that "we the people allow " this. In the case of dairys, there is plenty of milk to process. they have too much but the want more? What? I'd like to know the real reason why so few what large dairies or hogs cafo's. And what happens to these ideas if and when grain gets back to lower prices? Will the Gov. change his tune when and if the bottom falls out of commodities?

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