Why we fight…

The State of South Dakota has seen a rapid increase of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) during the past few years. The increase is due to the state’s courting of mega-dairies from other states, as well as corporate hog operators courting individual farmers to “buy themselves a job” raising hogs by borrowing tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to build 2400-head hog barns with no DENR permit required and no oversight.

And our Regional Planning Districts are leading county officials to believe they’ve no right to say no. 

Our neighboring state of Iowa is so overrun by hog factories that support is growing for a moratorium on new CAFO construction. That means the corporations that have profited immensely from polluting Iowa are looking for new ground. And now hog factories are coming to South Dakota by the dozens.

CAFO applications to a local zoning board are usually met with opposition from neighbors who are concerned about odor, manure, and other environmental issues. People whose families have lived on the land for generations fear they’ll no longer be able to let their kids and grandkids play outside, to barbeque or ride horses, or even do their own farm chores without being sickened by the odor, noxious gasses, and harmful particulates.

And what if they want to sell their place? Even CAFO proponents admit that, “no one wants to live near that.” Once a CAFO comes in–even within a couple of miles–a home becomes nearly impossible to sell for its previous value, if it sells at all. If the land sells, the buildings may be bulldozed and the ground is farmed over. One more family gone from the land and the community.

CAFO proponents (corporations, consultants, lenders, and contractors who make the vast majority of the money off them) tout their construction as “economic development” for rural communities. But, when CAFOs move in, people move out. So, who is this economic development for? 

Why YOU should join…

Dakota Rural Action is a member-led organization whose mission is to protect our family farms and ranches, our natural resources, and our unique way of life.

We believe in vibrant rural communities and neighbors who respect each other and work together. We believe in taking back our agricultural systems from corporate ownership and control and building markets that sustain our lives and livelihoods. We also believe in preserving and protecting our democracy and local control within our counties and communities.

Many of the people who make up our Rural Vitality Committee are farmers and landowners who have had their way of life threatened by CAFO development; some are scientists concerned about clean air, water quality, and soil health. There are urban dwellers who support family farmers and homegrown prosperity by purchasing local food, and there are rural people who do this work out of love for their families, their neighbors, and their community.

ALL of us care about South Dakota and our unique and precious way of life. 

If this sounds like you, then you should be a member of Dakota Rural Action. Join today!

And you can help us win the fight.

Contact Rebecca Terk at rebeccat@dakotarural.org or call 605-697-5204 x260 for more information on the Rural Vitality Committee.