Livestock development initiative criticized as bribery

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – A South Dakota initiative to promote livestock development is being criticized as state-sanctioned bribery.

The initiative offers counties hundreds of thousands of dollars each time they approve a new permit for a large-scale livestock operation. Former Democratic legislator Kathy Tyler is a member of the grassroots group Dakota Rural Action. Tyler says the program amounts to bribery.

The initiative allows developers of a concentrated animal feeding operation, known as a CAFO, to assign sales and tax rebates to a county government if local officials approve a conditional use permit for their project.

Tyler tells the Rapid City Journal that concerns about noise, odors and environmental damage from the large livestock operations might be too easy to overlook by county officials eager for the revenue.