Sometimes I wonder if South Dakotans are so desperate for economic development that they'll sacrifice anything—clean air, clean water, decent roads, decent wages—to get it.
And sometimes, some South Dakotans surprise me by drawing the line. Out in Hand County last week, in the heart of cattle country, the county commission voted down a conditional-use permit for a 50,000-head feedlot.
Candice Lockner, a neighbor and opponent, says she thinks the issue was over, considering that the conditional use required the project to be “compatible with surrounding properties” and that the “industrial size of the proposal” wasn’t acceptable.
“I pray that this ends it,” Lockner says, adding that she thinks the project failed because the estimates of truck numbers and the cost of road improvements, among other things, were “fluid” [Mikkel Pates, "SD County Votes Down 50,000-Head Feedlot," AgWeek, 2014.05.06].
Northern Prime Feeders organizers Steve Munger and sons A.J. and Nate aren't giving up on their plan, which they announced in January 2013. Dad Steve says they'll just take their business elsewhere:
“We’ll go to another community that actually wants some economic growth,” Munger said [Pates, 2014.05.06].
Maybe they can head up to Brown County, which is surely looking for some sort of replacement for the never-realized economic impact of the bankrupt Northern Beef Packers. A.J. Munger should know all about that: he was Northern Beef Packers' Director of New Business Development, Pricing, and Marketing. The Mungers' Eagle Pass Ranch appears to have had a marketing deal with NBP before it went under.