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The USDA on Tuesday, Oct. 29, announced it has established an interim final rule on hemp production, allowing expanded growth of the crop. Photo taken July 19, 2019, in Bismarck, N.D. (Jenny Schlecht/Agweek)

SD Farm Bureau rejects industrial hemp, livestock zoning matrix

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The South Dakota Farm Bureau took action on industrial hemp and livestock zoning at its annual convention held Nov. 22-23.

Delegates voted down a resolution that would have supported the legalization of hemp production in the state, even though the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released federal rules that will allow the crop.

"Our delegates voted that down and so we'll stay neutral on that even though our American Farm Bureau policy does support it. Our governor, Kristi Noem, has made very clear that she does not intend to support that and so we won't get into a shouting match over that," says Scott VanderWal, South Dakota Farm Bureau president.

Delegates also voted down a resolution to develop a statewide matrix for counties to follow on livestock zoning. However, VanderWal says his organization does want some type of standardization to provide certainty for producers so they don't invest in getting a conditional use permit and have it turned down at the local level even though they meet requirements.

"We've had numerous cases in South Dakota where all that background work is done, the money is spent and then the county zoning board turns it down based on emotion," VanderWal says.

Also discussed were ways to more fairly assess property taxes on land based on its use, but no action was taken.