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Published May 06, 2014, 04:49 PM

SD county votes down 50,000-head feedlot

The Hand County (S.D.) Commission on May 6 voted 3-2 against the approval of a conditional use permit for a 50,000-head cattle feedlot. Northern Prime Feeders LLC has been working to build a lot on the Eagle Pass Ranch property in the Ree Heights, S.D., area, between Highmore and Miller.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — The Hand County (S.D.) Commission on May 6 voted 3-2 against the approval of a conditional use permit for a 50,000-head cattle feedlot. Northern Prime Feeders LLC has been working to build a lot on the Eagle Pass Ranch property in the Ree Heights, S.D., area, between Highmore and Miller.

An earlier hearing had been held April 22. The commission meeting included no testimony, but only a vote, according to witnesses. Commission chairman J.D. Wangsness had been in favor of the project. It was controversial because of concerns about its environmental, economic and infrastructure impact.

Owners would have been Steve Munger who lives in Brown County, and his sons, A.J. and Nate. They had announced plans to build the feedlot at the National Western Stock Show in Denver in January 2013.

Munger tells Agweek the project “ends in Hand County” and won’t be sited in Hyde County either.

“The commission went against the wishes of the business community and voted against it,” he says. “There were a couple of commissioners that were pretty dead-set against it.”

A similar request for a smaller, adjoining 15,000-head feedlot in Hyde County was withdrawn earlier. It would have put “some of the assets” of the 50,000-head lot in that county, but would not have been added to it, Munger says.

“We’ll go to another community that actually wants some economic growth,” Munger said.

Candice Lockner, a neighbor and opponent, says she thinks the issue was over, considering that the conditional use required the project to be “compatible with surrounding properties” and that the “industrial size of the proposal” wasn’t acceptable.

“I pray that this ends it,” Lockner says, adding that she thinks the project failed because the estimates of truck numbers and the cost of road improvements, among other things, were “fluid.”

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