S.D. Farmers Union Announces their Support for Non-Meandered Water Draft Legislation

May 25, 2017


S.D. Farmers Union Announces their Support for Non-Meandered Water Draft Legislation
HURON, S.D. - S.D. Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, says the organization supports 5 Open Compromise, the non-meandered water draft legislation discussed by the Interim Committee for Regulation of Non-meandered Waters held May 24, 2017 in Pierre.
"Now that we have had time to review the proposed draft, our organization will endorse the legislation, as long as legislators understand that there are still some issues which need to be addressed," said Sombke, a fourth-generation crop and livestock farmer from Conde.

Sombke explains that this draft is relevant to the South Dakota's family farmers and ranchers S.D. Farmers Union represents because these waters cover land these agriculture producers own - land which they can no longer raise livestock or crops on.

In fact, non-meandered waters impact South Dakota's number one industry enough that the organization hired a Natural Resources attorney, David Ganje, to provide information to help draft language to be used in the a bill.

"Farmers and ranchers should not be tasked with the expense related to taking care of public water on land that they can no longer earn a profit from," said Sombke. "Our organization would like to see landowners compensated for public water in similar way as those landowners who allow access on their land for hunting and other outdoor activities via CREP a state run public access program."

Proposed Legislation 5 Open Compromise was released for review May 23, just one day before the public committee hearing held May 24. Sombke hopes that two more issues are addressed during the 2018 Legislative Session.
Uniform Taxation of Non-Meandered Lands: "Each county taxes non-meandered lands differently and they need to be taxed equally state-wide," Sombke explained.
Township and county roads maintenance: "This was not addressed and needs to be. Road maintenance from increased recreational traffic to and from non-meandered waters or caused by the public waters, should not be the responsibility of the county or township - the state needs to provide compensation," Sombke said.
Sombke was encouraged to see several of the ideas which were brought forward by Ganje, on behalf of S.D. Farmers Union, are being addressed in this draft.

"I understand that taxation and road maintenance are not emergency issues that need to be addressed this summer, but they do need to be addressed before the end of the 2018 session," Sombke said.

Below, Sombke lists eight sections which need to be included in the bill because it directly impacts South Dakota's family farmers, ranchers and their rural communities.
Eight points that impact S.D. Farmers & Ranchers
1. A Quiet Zone based upon Distance and Times of the Day;
2. A Setback Rule based upon Distance and Type of Weapon;
3. Statute Requiring Adoption of Rules by GF&P for Recreational Use;
4. Statute Excluding Certain Use of Non-Meandered Waters;
5. Ramp Lease Matter - In prior, proposed bills there was discussion of state ramp and access agreements with landowners who border on or hold title to lake bottoms or surrounding lands on non-meandered waters;
6. Uniform Taxation of Non-Meandered Lands. This is not addressed in the current draft;
7. Landowner Liability Matter; and
8. Township and county roads maintenance by deprivation to access water. This is not addressed in the current draft.

To become a part of the conversation on non-meandered water and its impact on South Dakota farmers and ranchers, contact S.D. Farmers Union Executive Director, Karla Hofhenke at 605-352-6761 ext. 114.
Media Contact:
Karla Hofhenke, Executive Director, S.D. Farmers Union
605-352-6761 ext. 114
khofhenke@sdfu.org

Last Modified: 05/30/2017 8:57:33 am MDT

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