Letter to the Editor: Review Brown County CAFO Regulations
September 25, 2017
To The Editor:
Last week, the Brown County Planning Commission voted to deny a permit for a 60-head sow barn north of Bath (American News, Sept. 20). The hog barn applicants were unable to secure signatures from their neighbors for a written waiver that would have allowed the hog barn to go forward. This lack of waivers, caused the commission to vote the way they did.
This is not the first time that a livestock farmer in South Dakota has faced opposition from their neighbors and has been denied for a new barn, and I doubt it will be the last time. However, most the time you hear about opposition to a livestock barn is because it is “too large.” In this case, the permit was for a much smaller operation to raise purebred hogs primarily for 4-H'ers and families who show pigs, with some being raised to market weight.
The vast majority of counties that have rules overseeing Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) do not regulate livestock operations with 60 sows or its equivalent number of 29 beef cows. If they do regulate 29 beef cows, they certainly don’t require a half-mile setback!
Brown County’s CAFO regulations state that if you have more than one animal in confinement for 180 days, you have to obtain a Special Exception Permit if you are located within a half-mile of your nearest neighbor. In fact, the regulations list the farm in the definitions as a Potential Pollution Hazard if the neighbor within a half-mile doesn’t sign a waiver.
Agriculture has seen many changes since Brown County last visited its CAFO regulations 20 years ago, in 1997. We hope that leadership in the county will once again review its regulations to ensure that all of Brown County’s livestock-producing families have the opportunity to responsibly and productively.
Ag United for South Dakota