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New South Dakota bill will protect agriculture

New South Dakota bill will protect agriculture

Plaintiffs must provide clear evidence that a farm is causing a nuisance

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem discussed a proposed a piece of legislation designed to protect farms in the state.

On Jan. 13, Gov. Noem outlined how the upcoming bill would support the people and the $32 billion the industry generates.

Once introduced, the bill provides additional liability protections for ag operations “in the event that a nuisance claim is filed against them,” a government release says.

In South Dakota, a public nuisance is “one which affects at the same time an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons…”

All other nuisances are considered private.

The proposed law would:

  • Set specific conditions and limits to compensatory and punitive damages,
  • Add “agritourism” to the definition of a farm operation,
  • Expand the protected status of ag operations by allowing them to change the product they produce to maintain such status, and
  • Ensuring the plaintiff has “clear and convincing” evidence that a nuisance is out of compliance with state or federal environmental laws or regulations.

These rules will help South Dakota farmers continue to operate without hesitation, said Sen. Joshua Klumb.

“As a lifelong farmer, my family depends on a fair and level playing field to make ends meet. Our producers need dependability to preserve their operations, so they cannot have frivolous nuisance complaints undermining their work to feed the world,” he said in a statement.

Klumb, along with State Rep. James Wangsness, are sponsoring the bill.

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