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Senate at last OKs precision ag center for SDSU campus

The South Dakota Senate meets during the 2018 legislative session. (Matt Gade / Republic)

PIERRE — The state Senate gave final approval Thursday to the funding plan for constructing a precision agriculture building at South Dakota State University.

"It's part of the funding plan for the precision ag project," Sen. Gary Cammack, R-Union Center, said.

The measure passed 30-2.

SB 183 appropriates $650,000 of state funds annually to repaying bonded debt that will be issued for about one-third of the $55 million project.

The $650,000 comes via adjustments to several allocations and closing the ethanol fuel fund. Cammack described the arrangements as "somewhat complex."

House members approved the legislation Tuesday 53-13.

A House-Senate conference committee meanwhile continued to work on a related piece of legislation authorizing the building.

Sen. Jason Frerichs, D-Wilmot, thanked "the governor's office" for helping bring "this plan to fruition." He said the project would have "tremendous impact."

Said Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark: "By passing this bill you will put a lot of minds at ease that some of these issues will be settled for the long term."

Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, said the bill was "one piece of the puzzle."

"It's a natural fit because corn is such a critical fit for the ethanol industry," Tidemann said. "This is something that will start as number one in the nation, the only university to have a precision ag major."