Arrest reported at hog farm protest


By Carson Walker -- Associated Press

WAGNER, S.D. (AP) - Gov. Mike Rounds says one person was charged with throwing an object and about seven others were detained but not arrested April 15 during a protest at the site of a proposed hog farm west of Wagner.

Rounds discounted earlier reports that 22 people were arrested.

''We do not have anybody down there in riot gear,'' he said.

Yankton Sioux tribal members held a protest to bring attention to a hog farm that an Iowa farmer wants to build in Charles Mix County. It's on deeded land but is surrounded by tribal land.

A Yankton Sioux tribal judge ruled April 14 that the hog farm developers could be kept off reservation land.

Rounds said Attorney General Larry Long's office is trying to sort out the legal aspects of the issue.

Protesters were at the site again April 16, said John Stone, tribal vice president.

Excavation already is under way at the hog farm site. Two pits have been dug, and large mounds of soil can be seen.

Rounds said he was told that one of the protesters claimed to have been injured by a piece of construction equipment.

''We had one individual who was observed standing behind a vehicle that was not moving, falling down and then apparently claiming that the vehicle had hit them - although the vehicle, according to our officer on duty ... did not move,'' Rounds said.

Stone said the Highway Patrol and county authorities were the ones who escalated things at the protest.

''When the Highway Patrol sent 30 officers in, it escalated into something we never intended.''

The Charles Mix County sheriff asked for assistance and the Highway Patrol responded, according to the governor, who added that estimates of 20 officers at the scene probably are accurate.

The sheriff did not respond to requests for comment.

Work was being done at the hog farm site to install an access road, Rounds said, adding that some protesters were trying to block the machinery.

Stone took issue with that.

''Once the state came down with a hammer, it upset some of the participants,'' Stone said. ''There was never a blockage of right of ways.''

''They were given free passage onto their land,'' he said. ''We were merely there to have a peaceful protest.''

According to the governor, about 50 mostly peaceful protesters were at the site and that perhaps more arrived later in the day.

The site for the operation is along a BIA road. The governor said the BIA has no problem with the hog farm workers using the road or putting in an access.

''From our standpoint, we do not see a jurisdictional issue. Although I think there are some of the protesters who have suggested that that is the issue,'' Rounds said.

The land in the area is a checkerboard of private, tribal and deeded land.

The developer, Arlan Moss of Hull, Iowa, said construction at the Long View Farm site had been postponed in light of the tribe's concerns late the week of April 7.

According to Moss, South Dakota state environmental officials had confirmed that his plans complied with all the regulatory requirements for the sow farm, which could house an average of 3,350 sows and produce 70,000 pigs a year.

The tribe has been trying to work with Moss to address its concerns before work was done on the site to make sure people and property were protected, Stone said.

''We just wanted the health of our children looked at and to make sure due diligence had been done.''

The hog farm site sits next to tribal property, he said. ''It's just absurd to think there would not be any impact to our lives, our health or our property.''

Even the odor would be a concern to people driving by, Stone said.

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