Chair of Ag and Natural Resources Committee neutral on merger

BROOKINGS, S.D. (WNAX) – Governor Kristi Noem has moved to merge the Department of Environment and Natural Resources into the Ag Department.

Legislators will have the final say on that proposal.

Senator V.J. Smith of Brookings is the incoming Chairman of the Ag and Natural Resources Committee and says he is neutral on the idea so far.

 New laws in the past couple of years have streamlined the county application process for CAFO’s, or confined animal feeding operations. That has created some strong reactions from supporters and opponents of those projects.

Smith says those issues will probably be before the committee again.


Smith says they have a number of experts available to help them make decisions.

Governor Kristi Noem will outline her budget proposal to the legislature next month. The 2021 session starts on Jan. 12.