Compiled by the Office of Secretary of State Joyce Hazeltine
SDCL 12-13-23 requires the Office of the
Secretary of State to prepare and distribute public information
concerning constitutional amendments, initiatives and referred
measures. This pamphlet is prepared by soliciting statements from
the proponents and opponents of amendments and measures.
The title, explanation and effect of a vote for each ballot question
were provided by the Attorney General. No other statements on this
pamphlet reflect the opinion of the State or the Attorney General.
The information was compiled by the Secretary of State as supplied
by the writers, was not verified by the Secretary of State and does
not reflect the position of the State regarding the legality or
effect of the amendments or measures. The Secretary of State does
not guarantee the accuracy of any claims made by the proponent or
opponent writers in this brochure.
Attorney General Explanation
Constitution does not restrict the use or ownership of farmland.
However, the Legislature has prohibited some corporations from
engaging in farming, and in certain hog production activities.
Amendment E would create constitutional prohibitions. Many
corporations, limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and
other business entities would not be permitted to own farmland or
engage in farming or livestock production.
Amendment E does not affect current ownership or leasing of
farmland, or livestock production, by these businesses. However, it
would prohibit them from farming new land, or buying, leasing, or
contracting for any new interest in farm lands, farming or livestock
production. The Amendment may potentially prevent these businesses
from renewing current leases.
Amendment E would not affect qualified family farm corporations,
nonprofit corporations, certain ag co-ops, research farms, alfalfa
leases, livestock futures, certain custom farm work, security
interests, the purchase of land for nonfarm purposes, and other
A vote "Yes" will prohibit many types of businesses from
owning farmlands. It will also prevent these businesses from having
interests in agricultural contracts, farmlands, or operations.
A vote "No" will leave the Constitution as it is.
Pro - Constitutional Amendment E
Family agriculture is the economic foundation for South Dakota
communities--rural and urban. Income earned by family farmers and
ranchers is spent on local mainstreets and is multiplied again and
again as it moves through the local and regional economies.
However large non-family farm corporations increasingly threaten our
traditional rural way of life. Constitutional Amendment E gives
South Dakota voters the opportunity to decide whether control of our
state’s agriculture should remain in the hands of family farmers and
ranchers or fall into the grasp of a few, large corporations.
Constitutional Amendment E is a logical extension of South Dakota’s
1974 Family Farm Act and the 1988 amendment prohibiting non-family
farm, corporate ownership of pork production facilities. The
amendment is almost identical to popular and successful
constitutional provisions approved by voters in our neighboring
state of Nebraska more than 15 years ago. The only real difference
is an exemption contained in Amendment E for farmer-owned
Constitutional Amendment E expands and strengthens our
anti-corporate farming statutes with an additional prohibition of
non-family farm, corporate ownership of livestock. Supporters say
Amendment E is needed to prevent corporations from using
interlocking boards and other anti-competitive ties with the
meatpacking industry from limiting and then ending market access for
independent livestock producers.
These corporations--now making their play to control South Dakota
livestock production--have something else. They have track records
of significant and repeated environmental violations--a far distance
from the solid record of land stewardship practiced by family
farmers and ranchers.
Handing control of South Dakota agriculture over to non-family farm
and ranch corporations will not build value-added agriculture.
Desperately needed profits will be skimmed out of local economies
and into the pockets of distant corporations.
Passage of Constitutional Amendment E will reaffirm South Dakota’s
commitment to family agriculture. More importantly it will prevent
large, non-family farm corporations from using unfair,
anti-competitive advantages to turn independent family farmers and
ranchers into a new generation of sharecroppers.
Submitted by: Charlie Johnson, RR 2 Box 29, Madison, SD 57642 and
Dennis Wiese, 707 S. Crescent, Flandreau, SD 57028 who are
co-chairmen of Vote Yes for Amendment E. Mr. Johnson represents
Dakota Rural Action and Mr. Wiese is president of South Dakota
Con - Constitutional Amendment E
Amendment E is unfair to South Dakota farmers and ranchers. It is a
poorly thought out idea that does not belong in our constitution.
Specifically, Amendment E would put into our State’s constitution
1. Discriminates against successful family farmers;
The language of Amendment E does not clearly distinguish between
South Dakota farmers and out-of-state-based farmers and
2. Eliminates financial options needed to save
the family farm;
Amendment E bans many business structures
currently used by South Dakota farmers and ranchers to remain
financially solvent and thereby able to stay in business.
3. Cripples value-added agriculture
South Dakota agriculture needs more capital
investment not less. By banning non-related farmers from working
together to further the agriculture industry, Amendment E would
cripple our economic future.
4. Fails to help the environment;
There is absolutely no language in Amendment E
that addresses the environment. None! It was left out.
5. Does nothing to address concerns regarding
large scale hog farms;
The word hog was also left out of the language
of the petition. Therefore, the severe restrictions that
Amendment E is suppose to place on large out-of-state hog
confinement facilities would be placed on ALL our farmers and
ranchers whether they raise corn, soybeans, cattle or sheep.
Finally, the issues that the proponents of
Amendment E claim to be concerned about should be debated in the
Legislature. Our constitution should not be violated with
complicated and confusing language advocated by a small band of
You can help South Dakota agriculture and yourself by stopping this
Please join the thousands of South Dakotans who have already studied
the issue and determined that the right thing to do is Vote No on
Submitted by: Frank Brost, 404 W. Missouri Ave., Pierre, SD 57501
and Tom Batcheller, 1437 S. Westward Ho Place, Sioux Falls, SD
57105. Mr. Brost is a Jones County rancher and co-chair of Vote No
on E committee. Mr. Batcheller is a Sioux Falls agri-businessman and
treasurer of Vote No on E committee.