County Zoning Under the Knife 

A week ago at the Rapid City Stock Show, Governor Noem outlined plans for “cutting rural development red tape” with a zoning bill aimed at gutting the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process on the county level. That bill’s language is now up on the Legislative Research Council (LRC) website as SB 157.

It’s crucial to know that, while the bulk of media focus has been on impacts to the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) county permit process, this bill has MUCH wider-ranging implications for any large scale development across the state–including things like mining, man camps, energy facilities, and more.

The proposed legislation seeks to “streamline” the process by removing public notice and hearing on some projects, providing for administrative approval of permits, removing the super-majority vote option by county boards, threatening those who appeal decisions with paying defendant’s attorney fees and “damages,” and more. It’s a direct attack on local control and public participation in the democratic process.

Dakota Rural Action began its full-court press against this terrible bill immediately after its announcement, and we are continuing to do so by contacting allies and amplifying articles opposing this bill on our website and through social media.

We are also planning for a large contingent of members to testify against this bill. Please consider helping to cover costs of fighting this bill–including travel and lodging in Pierre for those who need it by donating to our Legislative Fund.

Other things you can do:

  • DON’T WAIT–Contact committee members indicating your opposition to SB 157 (Governor Noem’s zoning bill), and while you’re at it, contact your State Senator as well.
  • If there’s a Cracker Barrel or Legislative Coffee in your area this weekend, tell legislators to keep decision-making local and oppose this bill
  • Write a Letter to the Editor, blog post, or other piece. Send us a copy, so we can publish in on our website and amplify on social media


Liability Insurance/Surety Bond for Industrial Pesticide Applicators

House Bill 1171 requiring commercial pesticide applicators to maintain evidence of financial responsibility in cases of personal injury is headed to the House Ag Committee for a hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 11th at 7:45 am in Room 414.

This is a bill long fought for by members who have been harmed by spray drift and found no recourse for damages from applicators with no insurance. Please call or write the SD House Ag committee members. Contact information available on the SD Legislative Research Council website, or consult the DRA Legislative Guide which was mailed to all members.

Warm Reception for COOL Resolution

Senate Concurrent Resolution 601 supports negotiations to remove trade barriers for Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) for beef, pork, and some other commodities. We’ve seen several such resolutions (as well as bills) from the SD Stockgrowers in the past few years–this new resolution is reportedly timed to look at ways to implement COOL now that the US-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) Trade Agreement has been passed. The previous COOL program ended in 2015, after the World Trade Organization threatened retaliatory duties against the U.S. following complaints by Canada and Mexico.

Dakota Rural Action supported this resolution with brief testimony in committee, and we’ve also worked (and will continue to do so) on the federal level to push the issue. It passed both Committee and the Senate Floor unanimously.

In 2019, DRA Homegrown Sioux Empire Chapter Members toured a small farm in Western MN growing orchard fruits and industrial hemp

Industrial Hemp Bill Moves Forward At Last

This year’s Industrial Hemp licensing, production, and transportation bill (HB 1008) finally got its hearing in committee after a few false starts. The initial bill came out of a 2019 Hemp Summer Study, but the Governor’s office imposed “guardrails” of what they’d like to see in the bill in order to secure support. That led to a 16-page amendment (basically a hoghouse of the original bill), but sponsors considered it “friendly,” and the bill passed House Ag Committee on a unanimous vote, and will head to the House floor.

RSVP Today! Citizen Lobby Day Feb 24

Get ready for Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, February 24th!

  • Member gathering & citizen lobby training Sunday, Feb. 23rd 6-8pm at Red Rossa
  • DRA Citizen Lobby Day Monday, Feb. 24 at the Capitol
  • Legislative Mixer Monday 6-8pm featuring local food appetizers at Drifters Bar & Grille.

Email Jordan at or call (605) 697-5204 x250 to RSVP
A room block is reserved at the Governor’s Inn–call (605) 224-4200. 
Make your reservation now!

There are many more issues we’re tracking.
Our ability to do so is 100% funded by members like YOU!
Please consider an investment in our legislative fund by visiting: and click on the “Donate” link.
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Thank you!