Jim Hageman, Winifred, S.D., goes to court Tuesday to defend his right to feed 200 head of replacement heifers and calves in a drylot on a farm that has had cattle for over 70 years.
Dr. Frank Alvine, Sioux Falls, S.D., is suing Hageman, claiming that illegal discharge from the feedlot is polluting a wildlife refuge that he owns downstream from the site.
Alive is seeking an injunction against Hageman to prevent him from having cattle or storing silage and hay on the farm site effective immediately.
Steve Dick, director of Agriculture United for South Dakota - an advocacy group that supports livestock producers - says the case is significant.
Hageman is not in any violation of state or county feedlot regulations, Dick says.
The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources only requires a general permit if a cattle operation is over 1,000 head in a confined space.
Lake County does not require a permit for a farmer to keep a couple of hundred head of cattle if the farm has had cattle before.
"Dr. Alvine has discovered what many South Dakotans have known all along…rural South Dakota is a special place, experienced first hand by 30,000 South Dakota farm and ranch families," Dick says. "However, Dr. Alvine and others who want to enjoy rural South Dakota must remember that they are in an agricultural zoned area. An area that local citizens have decided that should be zoned for agriculture so families like the Hageman's can continue farm the land and raise livestock with out having to spend thousand of dollars defending their livelihood just because someone thinks their wildlife refuge is not what they expected."