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House panel advances bill limiting ag nuisance claims

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, swept through this hog barn on Riley Lewis' farm in Forest City, Iowa. Lewis says the higher price he's getting at market for the hogs he sells is making up for the smaller number of animals he's been able to raise this summer.
Amy Mayer
Iowa Public Radio
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A legislative committee advanced a bill granting agricultural producers more protections against nuisance claims.

House Bill 1090 would require landowners to live within one mile of an ag operation to file a nuisance lawsuit against it. It also limits payouts for these lawsuits and expands protections to agrotourism.

The bill has the backing of Gov. Kristi Noem.

During its first test in the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee, Department of Ag and Natural Resources Secretary Hunter Roberts said it protects the state’s largest industry.

“What we want to do is we want to keep our farmers on the land, keep them doing what they do so well," Roberts said. "Instead of ending up with these frivolous lawsuits in court that slow everything down and cost everyone money, and prevent that transition to the next generation in some of these instances.”

Several ag groups testified in favor of the bill, including the Farmers Union and Farm Bureau.

No one spoke against the bill. Committee Chairman Roger Chase noted Dakota Rural Action wanted to testify against it remotely but did not notify the committee within the 24-hour required notice.

The panel approved the bill unanimously Tuesday. It next heads to the House floor.

Josh Chilson is the news director at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A Florence, S.D. native, Josh graduated with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University. He has worked as as a newspaper reporter and videographer, and most recently as managing editor for Dakota News Now. Josh is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.