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Bon Homme Citizens Working on CAFO Regs; Mickelson Seeks More Deregulation

Opponents and proponents of stricter feedlot regulations in Bon Homme County are forming a volunteer group to see if they can help the county commission strike the right balance between ag-industrial interests and health and environmental concerns.

Meanwhile, Rep. G. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls), who has spent the last two Legislative Sessions dismantling feedlot regulations, says we’re still putting too many rules in the way of farmers who want to build concentrated animal feeding operations. Rep. Mickelson recites for WNAX his conviction that CAFOs are the only way to keep young people in farming in South Dakota and that we must thus review these environmentally risky operations as expeditiously as we can.

Rep. Mickelson continues to ignore the fact that CAFOs are not the only route to rural economic development. One could argue that favoring CAFOs actually makes it harder for other development to take place. Big feedlots expropriate land use from neighbors: concentrate 1,000 or 5,000 hogs in one feedlot, and while the feedlot owner increases his profits, the surrounding land becomes less desirable for housing development, other commercial development, and organic farming activities. Use the same land to promote small-scale agricultural production for local markets, and several entrepreneurs have a chance to make a better living on the land without infringing on their neighbors’ land use to the same extent that big CAFOs do.

Expand your field of vision, Rep. Mickelson. Existing CAFO regulations aren’t stopping farmers from building CAFOs, as a quick olfactory tour of East River will make clear. Expanding CAFOs may crowd out more of the young producers you say you want to keep in South Dakota.


  1. Paul Seamans 2016-05-19 08:17

    Why is Mark Michelson, who probably never spent a day in his life on a farm, pushing so hard for CAFO’s? Follow the money?

  2. Katie O 2016-05-19 09:53

    Great post!

  3. Charlie Johnson 2016-05-19 11:47

    Mickelson has been misled by the commodity organizations that support for CAFOS will help him into the governors chair !

  4. mike from iowa 2016-05-19 12:21

    Wingnut Walker’s Wisconsin whackos have stripped nearly all regulatory authority from cities,towns and counties and handed it over to Walker and his whacko wingnuts. If you know something is bad for the environment in Wisconsin,be prepared for a boatload to be dumped everywhere. More gifts to the koch bros and prolly headed for South Dakota via ALEC and culpable wingnut crooks in Dakota.

  5. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-19 15:46

    Sounds right to me, Paul and Charlie. Mickelson has an anemic vision of rural economic development informed my corporate raiders who see nothing but resources to consume, not communities to build.

  6. HydroGuy 2016-05-19 16:02

    Follow the money, indeed! Mark Mickelson’s willful ignorance on this issue, likely bought and paid for by Big Ag, will further doom our rural landscapes and communities. Anyone who has taken time to delve into the peer-reviewed scientific literature quickly realizes that the economic, social, and environmental costs that result from the proliferation of large CAFOs far outweigh the “Trumped-up” benefits frequently cited by their misguided proponents. “Look across our border to Iowa and Minnesota”, Mickelson has said in support of his position. Well, I look at mega CAFO-infested areas of Minnesota and Iowa and see withering rural communities with plummeting economic and social capital set in an environment whose water, soil, and air have been despoiled by poop for the benefit of corporate-owned/backed factory farms.

    A perfect example of Mickelson’s mantra is currently on display in Grant County, where Valley Queen Cheese and its minions are shamelessly attempting to portray the recently-approved CAFO ordinance—which, by the way, was widely considered a satisfactory compromise and passed by the County Commissioners on a 5-0 vote after a year-long study by the Planning and Zoning Board and several public meetings—as a veritable death knell for the local dairy industry. And, lo and behold, who’s coming to speak at a Grant County Development Corporation meeting on May 26th, a little more than a week before the citizens of Grant County vote on the newly-adopted ordinance? You guessed it—Mark Mickelson. Here he comes to ruin the day!!

  7. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-05-19 17:01

    Mark Mickelson in Grant County? I wonder if he’s paying for the gas with his gubernatorial campaign account.

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