S.D. Legislature looks to fund diagnostic lab
PIERRE, S.D. -- State legislators say a major renovation and expansion of the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory will be a key agricultural issue in the 2017 Legislature, which starts Jan. 10 in Pierre, S.D.
PIERRE, S.D. - State legislators say a major renovation and expansion of the South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory will be a key agricultural issue in the 2017 Legislature, which starts Jan. 10 in Pierre, S.D.
Speaker of the House Rep. G. Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, who has carried pro-livestock development bills in past sessions, says a state share of a $58 million laboratory enhancement falls in line with other efforts to keep the livestock industry strong and strengthening.
The ADRDL has been highly regarded nationally for its swine and molecular diagnostics. The laboratory receives samples nationwide, which helps keep the cost down for South Dakotans, promoters say.
Similarly, Scott VanderWal of Volga, S.D., and president of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, says the agricultural industries want to shore up the budget for the project that Gov. Dennis Daugaard initially had expected to fund at $10 million, but has cut in half because of declining sales tax revenue. Sales taxes are directly tied to a declining agricultural commodity price economy.
VanderWal says the laboratory is a Biosafety Level 2 rating, and needs to have the capability of Biosafety Level 3, which involves equipment for putting procedures in biologically-safe cabinets, for example. The facility also is cramped for space and needs upgrading. The last significant upgrade was between 1993 and '94.
Several other states have diagnostic laboratories, but the SDSU laboratory has often helped others when a large event occurs, such as the bird flu outbreak a couple of years ago.
Ag permit help
Mickelson, a lawyer, accountant and founder of Mickelson & Company business, says the Legislature also will "continue to work with a broad coalition on value-added opportunities and work with counties so that they intentionally set a permitting process that is easy to understand, allows for full and fair hearing by all concerned parties, and makes a decision based on facts and the county's plan."
There have been some changes about the standards of review, involving contested and appealed cases for large-scale animal agriculture or other kinds of agri-processing. Mickelson thinks there might be more changes in the upcoming sessions.
Rep. Jason Frerichs, D-Wilmot, a member of the House Agriculture Committee, says with the governor putting about $6 million into the plan and SDSU putting in another $5 million, there will also be some bonding. Some ideas for the agriculture industry chipping would be through increased inspection fees, fees for pet food, per-ton payments on distiller's grains, and other fees. Other fees could be veterinary fees, or on certain types of veterinary parasite control products. Frerich says it's been estimated livestock producers might average about $200 a year in added fees, associated with the diagnostic laboratory improvements.
On other topics, Frerich expects the Legislature will consider a possible requirement the state vehicle fleet use E30, or a fuel blend with 30 percent ethanol, which is largely made from corn ethanol.
Frerich is a member of the River Basin Oversight Task Force, which is supporting two bills related to water. One bill would establish boundaries for nine new river basin watersheds throughout the state. The second would create the Red/Minnesota Basin - a kind of prototype that includes Roberts, Deuel and Grant Counties, as well as small portions of Codington and Brookings counties, south to Clear Lake in Deuel County. Starting in 2018, this proposed Red/Minnesota Basion would remove portions in Deuel and Grant counties basin from the East Dakota Water Development District, based in Brookings.
Frerich is among those pushing a "small bridge" bill which would put $2 million annually to help replace township bridges. "We're following the hydrologic boundaries, not the current political boundaries," says Frerich, a farmer-rancher. "Water ignores any political boundaries."