Rural

Friends of the Big Sioux River maintains the following positions on agriculture:

- We want to work with the South Dakota agricultural community to find solutions that protect our environment and natural resources.

- We encourage South Dakota to put reasonable regulations in place on CAFOs to help avoid some of the disputes and problems that are occurring in Minnesota and Iowa. The standards should be higher for bigger operations.

- We encourage the state to better enforce existing rules and regulations. They should conduct on-site inspections, provide advice for operators and fine violators.

- We are concerned about the development of CAFOs in areas with shallow aquifers, such as occurs in most of the Big Sioux River watershed.

- We support the position that agriculture, developers and other industries should be responsible for the costs of their operations and not externalize those costs at the expense of the public and public resources.

- We support riparian strips to minimize and reduce the erosion of valuable topsoil and reduce sediment from entering waterways throughout the Big Sioux River watershed.

- We support alternative off stream watering sources for livestock such as wells and stock ponds to eliminate the grazing of cattle in streams, the erosion of stream banks and livestock waste in the water.

- We support the preservation of natural wetlands and discourage the use of drain tile to get rainwater off farmland quickly.

Smarter Farming, Cleaner Rivers

As one of the largest industries in the state, agriculture is a driving force in South Dakota, and it is a key player in the fight for cleaner water. There are many things that farmers can do to protect local rivers. To help, farmers can:

- Keep livestock out of rivers and streams. Wading cows can increase e. coli levels.

- Use cover crops. Cover crops build healthier soil, reduce fertilizer applications, and retain soil moisture. For more information, consider this study on cover crops.