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Funding for soil study gets Legislature's OK

PIERRE--Legislation that designates $175,000 of state funding for a soil productivity study is on its way to the governor. State senators voted 35-0 Thursday to approve the plan. It calls for the state Department of Revenue to receive the money a...

PIERRE-Legislation that designates $175,000 of state funding for a soil productivity study is on its way to the governor.

State senators voted 35-0 Thursday to approve the plan.

It calls for the state Department of Revenue to receive the money and pay South Dakota State University to conduct the work.

SDSU's plant science and economics divisions will conduct research on methods used to determine agricultural land production and to update data on soil types in the 66 counties.

South Dakota uses an agricultural productivity system to set taxable values for cropland and grassland.

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The proposal came from the Legislature's agricultural land assessment implementation and oversight advisory task force.

Its chairman, Sen. Jim Peterson, D-Revillo, said Thursday that SDSU conducted annual updates of soil data but stopped in 1996.

The new work will occur during a two-year period.

"We really need science-based ratings for all our soils," Peterson said.

Sen. Gary Cammack, R-Union Center, said the study would present different methods for identifying soils and improve soil ratings.

"The bottom line is, it will provide directors of equalization information to make accurate assessments," Cammack said.

Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, said "a lot of new technology that is available" now can be used to better determine soil productivity.

The measure, HB 1007, won approval Feb. 17 from the House of Representatives, 59-10.

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