By Kindra Gordon
Local zoning control over confined animal feeding operations is good, says one of the region's leading developers of swine facilities, "but local control has to follow the rules."
That's according to Luke Minion, a veterinarian and president of Pipestone Systems, Pipestone, Minn. The company -- owned largely by 300 hog and grain farmers in the region -- has four projects totaling $60 million on the drawing board for South Dakota. It currently has about 40 swine production farms located in South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.
Minion says some of their South Dakota projects have been met with a "Not-In-My-Backyard" attitude.
It is frustrating, he says, when Pipestone Systems meets every ordinance required, but has less than 50% confidence that they will get a zoning permit from the local board.
"I'm for local control," Minion says, "but local control has to follow the rules. Otherwise it wastes time for people who come to do ag development."
Minion urges farmers need to step up and support all types of agriculture in their community -- not just their own.
He appeared on a panel at the recent South Dakota Governor's Ag Development Summit.
Gordon writes from Whitewood, S.D.