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NEWS 6.30.22: Iowa Hog Lot Ruling, Pro-Choice Protesters Arrested in Sioux Falls, Lifejacket Safety, Saturday in The Park Update, and More


The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed a longstanding precedent that allowed landowners to sue for damages when a neighboring hog farm causes water pollution or odor problems that affect quality of life. A majority of the court concluded Thursday that a 2004 decision was wrong. The reversal is a significant blow to property owners who live in rural areas who want to take legal action over expanding hog farms. It’s a victory for the agriculture industry in Iowa because it strengthens the immunity law protecting livestock farmers from nuisance lawsuits. Iowa is the nation’s leading pork producer with 23 million pigs.

Former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska started the process of filing an appeal, one day after he was sentenced to two years of probation for lying to FBI agents about an illegal campaign contribution from a Nigerian billionaire.

Fortenberry, a Republican, made clear after he was found guilty in March that he intended to challenge his federal conviction.

His new attorney says in a statement that the federal law used to convict Fortenberry is “far too susceptible to abuse.”

Fortenberry was charged federally after two meetings with FBI agents where he denied knowing that a $30,000 campaign contribution had come to him from a foreign national, which is illegal.

A special election in Nebraska that was supposed to be an easy win for House Republicans ended up as the tightest race in decades in the GOP-dominated district. The results in the mostly rural 1st Congressional District are boosting the confidence of Democrats who tapped into public outrage over the U.S. Supreme Court’s abortion ruling. Republicans still won the open seat as expected, but the margin has surprised even some local Democrats who have grown accustomed to lopsided defeats. Unofficial results show Republican Mike Flood beat Democrat Patty Pansing Brooks with 53.2% of the vote in Tuesday’s special election. Pansing Brooks received 46.8%.

Police in Sioux Falls used smoke bombs to try to disperse hundreds of people protesting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. P

The police chief says there were a “couple of arrests” during the demonstration Wednesday night in downtown Sioux Falls. Those arrested could face a charge of failing to disperse and other misdemeanors.

Officers used a loudspeaker to try to get demonstrators to move out of the street and onto sidewalks. Police in riot helmets held batons as they approached demonstrators and launched smoke bombs into the crowd. That’s when arrests were made.

A grassroots healthcare organization wants to put the abortion issue on the ballot in South Dakota. Dakotans for Health has developed language for a potential constitutional ballot measure, which if passed by state voters would make South Dakota’s near total ban on abortion less restrictive.

The proposed language says the state may regulate or prohibit abortion after the second trimester, except when necessary to preserve the life or physical or emotional health of a pregnant woman. State law currently bans abortions except to save the life of the mother. The state attorney general’s office is reviewing the potential constitutional amendment language.

A contingent of South Dakota Republican lawmakers have announced a group called the “South Dakota Freedom Caucus” as they try to drive state politics further to the right.

In its first official statement, the caucus called for an immediate special legislative session to address the state’s abortion laws. The state already has a trigger law that banned abortion last week when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Republican Gov. Kristi Noem and legislative leaders are already planning a special session, but have not said when it will be or what specific legislation will be considered.

The formalization of the Freedom Caucus threatens to drive a further wedge among GOP lawmakers in Pierre.

COVID-19 is forcing the cancelation of one of the main stage acts for Saturday in the Park.

One of the members of Daisy the Great tested positive.

The band was scheduled to play the main stage at 3 p.m. Replacing Daisy the Great is Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience. The group played the festival several years ago. Saturday in the Park takes place Saturday at Grandview Park and includes performances by The Avett Brothers, Buddy Guy, Elle King, and Fetty Wap.

MercyOne's Lea Mathison on Water Safety.mp3
MercyOne's Leah Mathison and son

Submitted news release:

Cattlemen’s Heritage Beef Company Announces Shackle Space

Opportunity For Region’s Cattle Producers

DES MOINES – In a move to provide pricing stability for independent cattle producers in western Iowa, eastern Nebraska, southeast South Dakota, northwest Missouri, northeast Kansas and southwest Minnesota, the Cattlemen’s Heritage Beef Company announced a program to sell guaranteed shackle space for 10 years at its planned 1,500-head-per day beef-processing facility in Mills County.

“A daunting problem for beef producers, even after they’ve sold their livestock to a processor, has been the inability to know definitively what day their cattle will be accepted for harvest. All too often, that problem leads to added costs and reduced profits or even a loss for producers,” said Chad Tentinger, the project’s lead developer and a fourth-generation cattle producer. “Because a true producer-processor partnership and a mutually beneficial relationship are the cornerstone and foundation of the Cattlemen’s Heritage business model, we know that our Shackle Space Program is a win-win for everyone involved.”

Producers will be able to place a deposit of $50 per shackle. Within 30 days of the company’s construction loan closing, a final payment of $200 per shackle would be required. Following the plant opening, which is tentatively scheduled for the first quarter of 2024, producers would receive a $50 payout per delivery on each shackle that they have reserved. The $50 annual payout would be in effect for 10 years, generating $500 in revenue over the life of the agreement.

“Obviously, that’s a two-to-one return on each shackle, which will help family farmers earn a better return on every head of livestock that they process through the Cattlemen’s Heritage facility,” Tentinger said.

A recent news report noted that 98% of marketable meat processed in the U.S. comes from “a mere 50 facilities.” When pandemic-related plant closings were exacerbated by other crises, including fires and cyberattacks, states and the U.S. Department of Agriculture launched a range of efforts to encourage additional shackle space. Trade organizations, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, have promoted a number of incentives to increase the amount and diversity of shackle space as well as competition within the processing industry.