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Mitchell City Council to consider tweaking ordinance to allow SD horse feed company's indoor crop production

DGI Feeds, of Renner, SD, would grow barley grass inside a vacant Mitchell building for the production of the horse feed products, if the council approves amending an ordinance.

INDDORCROPS.jpg
Shown here is the vacant building, located at 1117 S. Langdon St., where a South Dakota company is seeking to use for an indoor crop growing production facility in Mitchell.
Sam Fosness / Republic
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MITCHELL — As a South Dakota company is eyeing to produce crops in a vacant Mitchell building, the Mitchell City Council will consider the first reading of an ordinance change on Nov. 7 that would allow the business to operate.

The city’s zoning codes lack specific language for indoor crop production, which prompted city leaders to propose the council add it as a permitted use in specific zoning districts. The council will take action on the first reading of the ordinance during Monday’s 6 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

DGI Feeds is the company seeking to produce indoor crops in Mitchell. The Renner, South Dakota-based company uses a hydroponic growing method to produce nutrient-rich grasses that are broken down into horse feed.

The Mitchell building DGI Feeds is seeking to transform into a production site is located at 1117 S. Langdon St. It offers more than 17,000 square feet and is situated in the central portion of Mitchell near neighboring businesses.

Craig Livingston, a representative with DGI Feeds, said during a recent city Planning and Zoning Commission meeting that the production facility in Mitchell would not act as a retail store. Livingston noted the horse feed products would be distributed from the production site.

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“We plant about three-quarters of an inch thick of barley seed and water it. In about six days, it’s about 8 inches tall,” he said.

The ordinance is proposed to allow an indoor crop growing business like DGI Feeds’ be a permitted use in highway business districts and transportation and warehousing-specific districts. A conditional use permit would be required for the type of business to operate in central business districts, according to the proposed ordinance.

City Planner Mark Jenniges and Mitchell building inspector John Hegg recently toured the company’s Renner facility, and they were impressed with the growing process and operations.

For the ordinance to be adopted, the council would need to approve the first and second reading, which could occur as early as late November.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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