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LETTER: Hog-permitting process done right

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to recent letters to the editor from Marilyn Reimnitz and Wayne Kluth regarding the approval of an application to build a new hog barn in Davison County.

I recognize that everyone has a right to their opinion but want to point out several misconceptions and errors in their letters. In fact, some of the information from their letters is taken directly from websites that blatantly misrepresent the facts to oppose agriculture.

Mr. Kluth's letter refers to the hearing process as a "big joke." Davison County commissioners followed the appropriate process to the letter, listening to testimony from both supporters and opponents, then making a decision based on the testimony they heard and the rules in place.

Ms. Reimnitz makes several claims about the manure produced by livestock. While she is correct that manure is applied to fields as a natural fertilizer, she does not point out that the application of manure by state-permitted livestock farmers is carefully regulated. Farmers develop detailed manure management plans that specify the amount of manure that will be applied to individual fields each year.

Davison County has a long, rich history of raising livestock. Many farm families in the area have raised hogs, cattle or dairy cows for generations. Livestock creates jobs, drives local economies and creates local markets for corn, soybeans, hay and other crops raised by South Dakota farm families.

On behalf of South Dakota's farm and ranch families, I applaud the Davison County Commission for taking a comprehensive and reasoned look at the application, listening to experts on both sides, then making a fact-based decision to approve the application.

Steven Dick is the executive director of Agriculture United for South Dakota.