A new law in South Dakota makes it harder to file nuisance complaints or lawsuits against an agricultural operation. South Dakota Searchlight says it will also limit the amount of monetary awards. After legislators approved the bill earlier this winter, Governor Kristi Noem signed it at a Mitchell, South Dakota, implement dealership this week.
She says agriculture is the state’s “number one industry,” and the law protects farmers from frivolous lawsuits. Provisions in the law say only the owner or lessee of an affected property can file a nuisance action and only if the affected property is within a mile of the operation.
Groups like Dakota Rural Action and the Izaak Walton League say the law is unnecessary and goes too far. Additional provisions say the plaintiff must present “clear and convincing evidence” the operation violated local, state, or federal laws.
The new law goes into effect on July 1.