Lincoln County residents and members of the county's newly formed Carbon Dioxide Transport and Storage Advisory Committee attend a meeting Nov. 28, 2023, in Canton. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

Lincoln could become sixth county to regulate location of carbon pipelines

BY: - November 28, 2023

CANTON — Lincoln County could become the sixth county in the state to enact regulations on the location of carbon dioxide pipelines.  Brown, McPherson, Minnehaha, Moody and Spink counties already have “setback” ordinances that mandate minimum distances between pipelines and residential areas, livestock facilities, nursing homes and other existing features. The Lincoln County Commission rejected […]

A no-till field at Dakota Lakes Research Farm in Hughes County. (Colette Kessler, USDA NRCS South Dakota)

Climate change makes farm bill conservation programs crucial

BY: - November 28, 2023

While people from around the country think of South Dakota as the home of Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park and the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, we are at our core a state powered and defined by our farms and ranches. Agriculture is the South Dakota’s top producing industry, generating almost $12 billion for the economy […]

Big Sioux River floodwaters flow over farm fields, sending sediment downstream toward Lake Kampeska and beyond on April 13, 2023. (Brad Johnson/For South Dakota Searchlight)

State’s $3 million Big Sioux cleanup project is slow to catch on

BY: - November 24, 2023

A $3 million program created by the state in 2021 to reduce agricultural pollution in the Big Sioux River has attracted two sign-ups, while drawing criticism for duplicating existing local projects. Meanwhile, the state has doubled the financial incentives for landowners in an effort to attract more interest. Rep. Chris Karr, R-Sioux Falls, introduced the […]

Prairie grass sways in the wind in western South Dakota. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Three SD projects receive a combined $51 million for climate-smart agriculture

BY: - November 11, 2023

A land trust, state university and conservation group will receive a combined total of $51 million in federal funding to incentivize “climate-smart” agriculture in South Dakota.  The biggest grant went to Ducks Unlimited, a hunter-led organization focused on habitat conservation. It was awarded $25 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to restore over 25,000 […]

An oil pumpjack casts a shadow on a wall as it pulls oil from the Permian Basin oil field on March 14, 2022, in Odessa, Texas. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Critics allege CO2 pipelines ‘farm the government’ for climate money while helping oil industry

BY: - November 10, 2023

Plans to capture carbon dioxide emitted by ethanol plants, ship it via pipelines and store it underground are viewed by some as a way to fight climate change. The process is one way to keep carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, where it acts as a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. But critics say the process known […]

An ethanol plant near Aberdeen. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

New bills raise debate over ethanol’s environmental impact, with implications for the climate

BY: - November 10, 2023

South Dakota’s congressional delegation wants the federal government to measure the environmental impact of biofuels in a way that some researchers say is unlikely to help mitigate climate change. Sen. John Thune and Rep. Dusty Johnson, both Republicans, recently reintroduced similar bipartisan bills in the Senate and House, with Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, cosponsoring […]

Millions of grassland acres lost in Great Plains, new research report says

BY: - October 26, 2023

The Great Plains lost 1.6 million acres of grasslands in 2021. That’s according to a World Wildlife Fund report released on Thursday, detailing the loss of grasslands in the U.S. and Canadian Great Plains. From 2012 to 2021, grassland conversion in the Great Plains totaled 32 million acres, or 50,000 square miles.  The Plowprint report […]

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack talks trade at a Woodward, Iowa, farm on Aug. 18, 2022. (Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Feds pledge $2.3 billion to boost ag exports amid farm bill uncertainty

BY: - October 24, 2023

Federal agricultural officials plan to spend up to $2.3 billion to promote farm exports and to send U.S. grain to countries that are suffering food shortages. “This will complement existing trade promotion programs as we await Congress’ action on both the budget and the farm bill,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Tuesday. The […]

(John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

South Dakota ranks fourth in payments from conservation program

BY: - October 17, 2023

South Dakotans are the fourth largest recipients this year from a federal program that pays agricultural landowners to keep environmentally sensitive land out of production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Conservation Reserve Program has sent $129.5 million to South Dakotans. That trails Iowa ($402.5 million), Illinois ($172.7 million) and Minnesota ($150.8 million). […]

From left, Christoph Bausch of SAB Biotherapeutics, Alan Young of Medgene and Chad Yagow of John Deere, at a panel on agriculture and technology on Oct. 12, 2023, in Sioux Falls. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

Remote tractor diagnosis, disease-resistant pigs: Panel talks tech influence on ag

BY: - October 12, 2023

SIOUX FALLS – Agriculture has already been remade by precision technology, but the rapid proliferation of algorithmic machine-learning tools will continue to alter industry norms for years to come. That was among the key takeaways from a panel of ag experts at the South Dakota Biotech summit and annual meeting on Thursday at the Minnehaha […]

South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke discusses eminent domain concerns during a press conference Oct. 12, 2023, at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls. The press conference was held to announce the launch of the South Dakotans First coalition. (Joshua Haiar/South Dakota Searchlight)

New property rights coalition plans to lobby for eminent domain restrictions

BY: - October 12, 2023

SIOUX FALLS — A statewide coalition has formed to pursue restrictions on the use of eminent domain for projects such as carbon dioxide pipelines.  The group introduced itself during a press conference Thursday at the Denny Sanford Premier Center.  The politically diverse coalition, named South Dakotans First, consists of the South Dakota Farmers Union, Dakota […]

The South Dakota Capitol is reflected in Capitol Lake. (John Hult/South Dakota Searchlight)

State board approves $25 million bond for large dairy

BY: - October 11, 2023

A state board approved a bond of up to $25 million Wednesday to help a dairy near Bryant construct manure management facilities.  During a Zoom meeting, the South Dakota Economic Development Finance Authority approved issuing the bond for the 12,500-cow Washington Dairy owned by Riverview, a Minnesota company that already operates four other dairies and […]