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Livestock development seen as benefit - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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Livestock development seen as benefit

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Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 5:05 pm

Lake County commissioners learned on Tuesday morning that future agricultural development in the county could have financial benefits for county government.

Adam Molseed, community development representative with the Governor's Office of Economic Development, spoke with commissioners about expansions to programs designed to attract manufacturing jobs to South Dakota which will allow them to be used in the ag sector as well.

The programs were developed under former Gov. Dennis Daugaard to level the playing field between South Dakota and other states which are less dependent on sales and use taxes.

Because agriculture drives the economy in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem wanted "new and innovative ways to give a shot to the ag economy," according to Molseed. For this reason, two rebate programs -- the Reinvestment Payment program and the South Dakota Jobs program -- will now include ag development that meets qualifying criteria.

Targeted industries will now include livestock development -- specifically feedlots which require a new county use permit and will add livestock to the state. The projects must also be outside city limits.

To illustrate the impact of the GOED programs locally, Molseed noted that funding for the MadLabs came through these programs because cybersecurity is a targeted industry. He also pointed out that under the new guidelines, Tru Shrimp would not qualify because it is now considered livestock development and lies within Madison city limits.

With the new guidelines, 100% of the sales and use tax collected on the project would stay in the county. A $5 million project could result in the county collecting $225,000. Molseed said these funds could be used in any way the commission deemed appropriate.

"There are no strings attached to these dollars," he said.

For the county to receive this financial benefit, the developer must make application with the GOED and receive approval prior to applying for a conditional-use permit in the county. Molseed explained that a business development representative would walk the developer through the process.

In response to questions, he acknowledged the rebate could provide a financial incentive for commissioners to approve projects in their counties. However, he also noted that as a voting body, commissioners always face tough decisions.

"You have to do your due diligence," Molseed told them.

He said they need to look at the merits of a project, and they need to consider whether it will meet existing regulations.

"If it's a good fit for the county, it can go forward," Molseed said.

Because the developer's application would need to be approved by the state Board of Economic Development before a conditional-use permit could be issued, commissioners were interested in learning how long that would take. Molseed estimated the turnaround time on an application would be under 60 days.

"It's not too daunting; there's not a lot of red tape," he said.

When asked, Molseed said he had not seen any applications denied and could not think of a reason why an application would be denied. He suggested denials would be rare.

In closing, Molseed did encourage commissioners to contact the GOED if they became aware of plans for livestock development in the area so his office could work with them.

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