Press "Enter" to skip to content

What’s That Smell? Noem Promises Statewide Process for Approving Ag Projects

Evidently feeling that her massive CAFO bribes to counties aren’t enough to secure the supremacy of meat milk and manure factories in South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem is ominously teasing her announcement today of a bill to expand “ag opportunities”:

Noem says the legislation will create integrity for the process of developing ag projects throughout the state.

“It really does deal with creating a uniform process across the state for developing ag projects,” Noem says. “Making sure there are there are timeframes and integrity and that it’s a transparent process” [Lee Strubinger, “Noem to Unveil Bill Establishing ‘Uniform Process’ for Ag Development,” SDPB, 2020.01.30].

When Kristi Noem talks transparency, you know she’s hiding something. Expect a bill that takes local control of agricultural zoning away from counties, restricts local residents’ ability to protest, appeal, and refer permits for large confined animal feeding operations, and generally makes it easier for big factory farms to get bigger and crowd out small independent farms, just the way Donald Trump and the ghost of Earl Butz want. Heck, maybe she’ll just declare CAFOs public utilities and fold all zoning and environmental regulations on factory farms into the PUC’s dossier.

Governor Noem will release her plan today at the Black Hills Stock Show in Rapid City, where the smell of her plan will fit right in with the ambience.

Related Agricultural Opacity: Governor Noem has not publicly released her rewrite of House Bill 1008, the industrial hemp bill. House Majority Leader Lee Qualm was able to put paper copies of her rewrite on House Agriculture and Natural Resources members’ desks yesterday and explain why they haven’t held a full hearing on the bill yet, but LRC hasn’t put Noem’s hemp draft up on the Web for us commoners to read yet.


  1. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-31



    Cutting Rural Development Red Tape: Improving the County Zoning & Appeal Process

    Rural development projects are often delayed – or even killed – by cumbersome and unnecessary permitting processes. If a project happens to make it through the initial permitting phase but is challenged under appeal that can add many months of further delays. These projects are often vital to the long-term success of our small towns, rural communities, and the families that keep them strong. We must find ways to rethink the permitting and appeals processes, so we can turn our attention to investing in these communities for our kids and grandkids.

    This legislation would…

    • Provide clarity around existing permitting law;

    • Simplify the voting process for conditional use permits;

    • Improve the appeals process, including allowing the court to award attorney’s fees and damages; and

    • Keep zoning decisions in the hands of those who know the community best.

    Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1: Defines a “person aggrieved” to expressly state the criteria an appellant must meet to bring an appeal of zoning decisions by a board of adjustment. The definition limits standing to those who have a legitimate concern or potential injury and codifies case law established by the South Dakota Supreme Court in Cable v Union County Bd. of Commissioners, 2009 SD 59, ¶ 21.

    Section 2: Requires conditional use permit votes to be a majority vote of the members present and voting.

    Section 3: Further clarifies what a special permitted use is by giving counties more direction on how the process should work. If a project meets the required criteria (checks the boxes) it can be granted a certification through a ministerial act or upon an affirmative vote of the board of adjustment.

    Section 4: Further clarifies that in the special permitted use process there is no public notice or public hearing requirements through the board of adjustment. The board of adjustment can approve or disapprove the certification, while only considering if the specified special use criteria are met.

    Section 5: Prevents changes on adjacent properties – made after an application for a conditional use permit is submitted – from impacting the permit’s compliance with zoning ordinances.

    Section 6 requires conditional use permit votes to be a majority vote of the members present and voting.

    Section 7: Adds “adversely” to the statute. Requires an appeal to the board of adjustment to be made within 14 days of the action.

    Section 8: Requires the board of adjustment to make a final determination within 60 days of receiving the notice of an appeal.

    Section 9: Further sets out that initial determination votes on conditional use permits will be a majority vote. Votes to reverse any order, requirement, decision, or determination of an administrative official or commission on appeal will still require two-thirds of members of the board. Adds that the “commission on appeal” provides more clarity to current practices.

    Section 10: Makes the same change as Section 8, but this section applies to County Commission members that are acting as the Board of Adjustment. Section 9 further sets out that when County Commissioners are acting as the Board of Adjustment that their initial determination votes on conditional use permits will be a majority vote. Votes to reverse any order, requirement, decision, or determination of an administrative official or commission on appeal will still require two-thirds of members of the board. Adds that the “commission on appeal” provides more clarity to current practices.

    Section 11:

    • Clarifies what form a petition to the court shall take.

    • Requires the board of adjustment to respond to a notice of filing and provide the complete record of proceedings of the record appealed from, in the form of a return on a petition for writ, within thirty days of petition.

    • Requires a bond for appeals under the Board of Adjustment, the same requirement for an appeal under the county commission in (§ 7-8-27), making the statutes more consistent.

    Section 12: Encourages the court to expedite their determination on the matter by requesting the court (within thirty days of filing the board of adjustment’s response) hold a hearing on the matter to determine the merits of the case. This section is softened by including “or reasonably practicable” to allow the courts some additional time, if necessary.

    Section 13: Allows the court to award attorney’s fees, costs of the action, and compensatory damages against appellants that do not prevail with an appeal. This is a deterrent against frivolous appeals.

    Section 14: States that special permitted uses, conditional uses, or variances are valid for two years after the completion of appeals. Some projects go through months or even years of appeals delays and when they finally prevail, they then face an expiring permit or variance. This fixes that flaw in the process and will allow them to invest with confidence in rural South Dakota.


  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-31

    Her talking points are deceptive: she does not say one word about the real intent, which is to make it easier for CAFOs to get permits and harder for local residents to oppose them.

  3. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2020-01-31

    Toward the end of her remarks in Rapid City (see video here, the Governor expressed disdain for the fact that there are so many different reasons that different counties have come up with to reject CAFO applications. When she says she wants to simplify the process and give developers more predictability, she means she wants to limit the ways we can stop polluting CAFOs from entering our communities. She means she wants developers to know that their CAFO proposals will have easy passage.

  4. Debbo 2020-01-31

    Reuters says it’s an 8 year high. 😒

    “According to data released this week by the United States Courts, family farmers filed 595 Chapter 12 bankruptcies in 2019, up from 498 filings a year earlier.” Reuters

  5. jerry 2020-01-31

    Marco Rubio says its the wild west syndrome, more or less. Crooks and liars all, they don’t give a crap because they’re getting a pay off with contributions that they don’t have to pay back…and they admit to being accomplices to the whole grift. GNOem is Chubby in a dress.

    “Then a few moments ago, Sen. Rubio seemed to concede that the charges were not only proven but that they were in fact impeachable but that it was still best not to convict. “Just because actions meet a standard of impeachment does not mean it is in the best interest of the country to remove a President from office.” Amazing clarity…

  6. Debbo 2020-01-31

    Looks like lots of burden shift from the CAFO to the individual questioning it.

  7. Cathy 2020-01-31

    If the CAFO owner/applicant appeals a BOA decision, are they also at risk for costs and damages?

  8. Debbo 2020-02-01

    Here is something real for you to work on, Klueless Kristi. Soybean prices are now down below $7. That’s in the toilet KK! The USMCA is not helping.

    “not much more than a slightly warmed over version of the landmark NAFTA agreement that changed North American trading patterns forever.”
    John Tsitrian, South Dakota Standard

Comments are closed.