Hagemann Case Headed for SD Supreme Court
Dispute over winter feedyard continues for small producer.
By: Lon Tonneson
Published: Jul 6, 2009
James Hagemann's case is going to the South Dakota Supreme Court.
Hagemann, Winfred, S.D., operates Hagemann Red Angus. He was sued because runoff from his winter feed yard allegedly ended up his one of his neighbors' ponds.
The Alvine Family Limited Partnership, Sioux Falls, S.D., owns land across the township road from a feed yard that Hagemann rented. The partnership claimed that the runoff polluted the ponds on land it had bought and developed for hunting and recreation. The partnership wanted Hagemann to build a lagoon to contain the runoff or to remove the cattle from the site. It also wanted Hagemann to pay clean up costs.
Hagemann moved the cattle before the trial in March, but didn't agree to build a lagoon or pay the $20,000 that partnership sought. The case went to a jury in district court in Madison, S.D., and the Alvine Family Limited Partnership lost. But it recently filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Mark Meierhenry, Hagemann's attorney, calls the case "stunning" and "kind of important for agriculture."
Hagemann runs just 110 cows on pasture. He doesn't operating a CAFO. He followed - even exceeded - state and county requirements for manure management. The land, Meierhenry says, was being used in its natural state. Read More
This case has been a classic example of someone moving out in the country and then being upset about life in the country. This case is a little different than some because this doesn’t involve a full time feeding operation. The Sioux Falls doctor is upset because there were 110 head of cows being wintered next to him. Cattle have always been wintered in this particular pasture prior to the Alvine Family buying the adjoining property. If the state Supreme Court would rule in favor of the moved in doctor, it could endanger the ability of ranchers to feed cows during the winter in any type of situation. I think this doctor forgot that the first requirement for a healthy body is a food source.