Animal feedlot rule changes fizzle in Bon Homme County

Farm Forum

TYNDALL, S.D. (AP) — The Bon Homme County Commission has decided against proposed changes to animal feedlot requirements.

The county’s zoning board in July endorsed changes including requiring a permit for smaller operations and allowing a waiver of a requirement that all neighbors of new feedlots sign off on them.

The controversial proposals died for lack of a motion at County Commission meeting on Aug. 23, the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan ( ) reported.

“We stay with the status quo,” Commission Chairman Russ Jelsma said.

Commissioners could revisit the issue, or proponents of changes could try to force a public vote through an initiated measure.

The county has approved four feedlot permits this year. Supporters say such operations boost the economy, while opponents want more restrictions to safeguard the health of the environment and people.

The issue has generated heated discussion and has gained statewide attention with the recent construction of eight hog barns in the Scotland area.

LeRoy and Mary Jerke have complained about the hog barns’ locations. LeRoy Jerke received a liver transplant and takes medication that compromises his immune system. He has threatened taking legal action if the barns harm his health.

On the other side, David Guthmiller has defended his construction and operation of the barns. Other livestock producers, particularly those raising hogs, are worried about the impact of the proposed amendments.

Guthmiller said he believes livestock producers would break their operations into smaller units in order to avoid the proposed regulations.

“You could try to pacify people and keep them happy,” he said. “For the Jerkes, it wouldn’t matter what we do. They won’t be satisfied with it.”