PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota agriculture producers and processors, as well as agrotourism businesses, would get greater protection against neighbors’ nuisance claims under a proposal that’s moving forward in the Legislature.

The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted 12-0 Tuesday to endorse HB-1090 that came from Governor Kristi Noem. Republican Rep. James Wangsness carried it for her.

The legislation heads to the House of Representatives for debate Thursday.

A long list of agricultural groups, including Farm Bureau and Farmers Union, sent lobbyists to speak in favor at the hearing Tuesday.

“It will provide protections. It will help us move forward with ag production in the state of South Dakota,” said Brenda Forman, representing the S.D. Assn. of Cooperative and S.D. Dairy Producers.

Also supporting it was a member of the governor’s office staff and Hunter Roberts, cabinet secretary for the state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden watched from the back of the room.

No opponents testified against it. The committee’s chairman, Republican Rep. Roger Chase, said Dakota Rural Action wanted to remotely speak against it but didn’t meet the 24-hour notice necessary for remote testimony.

The additional protections would apply to any producer or processor of crops, timber, livestock, swine, poultry, livestock products, swine products or poultry products, or any agrotourism activity.

One of the provisions would limit lawsuits to a property owner within one mile of the agricultural operation.

Another provision says an agricultural operation may not be held liable for nuisance unless the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the claim arises out of conduct that did not comply with local, state, or federal environmental laws or regulations.

“Agriculture smells. It stinks. Has dust. There’s times we live within it and we complain about the odors and smells we have in our own operations, and the dust we create,” Chase said.

He continued, “People in urban areas don’t understand the noise and the impacts of what happens in rural South Dakota, and we need to make sure that we protect the producers that are out there working day in and day out. And so sometimes bright lights and noise and traffic and diesel smell, at midnight, is still going, and those producers need to do what they got to do, to get everything done.”

Republican Rep. Lynn Schneider called for the committee’s endorsement of the bill. “Especially this fall, as dry as it was, when you’re talking about combining, and a few times when we really had no wind, it was just pervasive, the dust in the air, miles and miles — just part of agriculture. I think it’s a good bill,” he said.

Schneider added, “You can’t make this stuff perfect, but we need to be pro-active in this area, because the other side is constantly chipping away at ag.”

Republican Rep. Marty Overweg said agriculture is South Dakota’s number-one industry and a nuisance complaint can change a producer makes a living. “This is an important bill to have,” he said.