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Group Holds Meeting To Secede From Yankton County
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Citizens in several northern townships in Yankton County are considering leaving the county.

Over the weekend, a forum was held in Irene to discuss the idea about joining Turner County or starting its own.

One farmer says it’s in response to the county commission’s approach toward livestock development.

Simon Healy is a cattle farmer in Irene who is pushing for several townships to secede from Yankton County.

Healy says the idea is join Turner County, which he says is more friendly toward ag producers.

“They understand how the ag district runs and how the farmers… what they need to survive,” Healy says. “Now our commission is putting… as one chicken you need to be state certified. If my niece down the road, who doesn’t have livestock on their farm… so if they brought one chicken into that they—by law—should have a conditional use permit and they need to be state certified every year.”

In 2006, the Yankton County Commission created a new class of Conditional Use Permit for anywhere from one to 299 animal units. However, there are no performance standards associated with that class… like manure management plans and odor considerations. The county’s zoning ordinance is being challenged in court.

In late 2018, three new county commissioners were elected over concern about concentrated animal feeding operation development. One of those new commissioners is chair Dan Klimish.

Klimish says talk of leaving Yankton County by these folks been going on for years. He says it’s unfortunate those leading the charge haven’t reached out to county commissioners.

“We’ve seen a huge influx of CAFO’s,” Klimish says. “There are a lot of residents that are very concerned about that. There are additional roads that have to be repaired. That increases tax payer cost, but the benefits only go to a small group of people. There’s a lot of skepticism throughout the county about more CAFO’s. But in the ag areas, some areas in particular, want to see more of this type of development.”

As for Simon Healy, he says the group looking to secede four townships in Yankton County will meet later this week to discuss further plans.