PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota’s fees could go up for registering pesticides and for licensing many of the applicators, under a deal reached Tuesday between some members of the Legislature and the state government agency that regulates them.
The revisions received support from the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
State Department of Agriculture Chris Petersen said the agency needs additional money because of rising costs.
The new deal calls for charging another $5 per pesticide, while about 1,400 applicators would lose their government exemption and pay $35 apiece for a two-year commercial license.
Under the latest version of SB 24:
Pesticide registrations would go up $25, to $45 per year, from the current $20;
Dealer licenses would go up $25, to $75 for two years, from the current $50; and commercial applicator licenses would go up $10, to $35 for two years, from the current $25.
Senator Deb Soholt said taking away the government exemption would cost an estimated $24,518.
“We’re not talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars that are going to be cost-shifted,” the Sioux Falls Republican said.
Paying $17.50 per year was worth what Soholt described “the greater good” of helping the department keep moving toward the goal of one license per applicator.
Senator Bob Ewing, a Spearfish Republican, agreed but said he still had “heartburn” on taxpayers picking up the cost of the licenses.
Senator Rocky Blare called for the committee to amend the legislation so the product registration fee would be $45. “We need to keep this a viable program,” the Ideal Republican said.
Lobbyists from government and agriculture groups spoke against the extra $5.
Kathy Zander from the South Dakota Agri-Business Association said the fee should have been raised for private applicators too.
Brenda Forman from the South Dakota Association of Cooperatives said her board had “reluctantly” supported the original legislation and opposed the additional $5.
Lorin Pankratz for South Dakota Association of County Commissioners wanted the government exemption kept and said taxpayers would still be on the hook.
“While they’re streamlining it, they’re raising fees,” Pankratz said. He noted that governments now would be in a difficult position because the licenses could be used for “moonlighting.”
Senator Joshua Klumb, a Mount Vernon Republican, asked the committee to refer the revised bill to the appropriators.
The move was “appropriate,” said Senator Gary Cammack, a Union Center Republican who chairs the committee.
“I think we accomplished the robust discussion,” Cammack said.