A jury found that Jim Hagemann, Winfred, S.D., doesn't have to pay to clean up his neighbors' stock ponds.
Hagemann was sued by a Sioux Falls doctor who bought land across from Hagemann's 200-head winter feed yard. Dr. Frank Alvine claimed that runoff from the feedyard had polluted his stockponds and wildlife food plots. Though Hagemann removed the cattle from the feedlot, Alvine sued for damages and legal testing fees.
The case was important, according to Agriculture United of South Dakota, because the feedlot is small. Most cattle feeders in the state could have found themselves in a similar situation.
The jury ruled March 4 that Hagemann wasn't liable because he had complied with state and local zoning and environmental standards and had taken all necessary and available precautions to prevent contamination and preserve the environment.
"We are happy that common sense prevailed with the unanimous jury verdict in Jim's favor," says Cory Eich, of the McCook-Miner Lake Cattlemen, one of the local South Dakota Cattlemen's affiliates that raised money for Hagemann's legal defense fund. "I hope Jim can put all of this behind him and start focusing on spring calving."
Eich's comments were supplied by SD Cattlemen's Association.