SD Senate Committee Kills Rangeland Designation Bill


     A bill to give ranchers an easier process to have their pastures taxed as rangeland instead of cropland has likely been killed by the South Dakota Senate Taxation Committee.

     The committee held a hearing on HB 1039 Wednesday morning, then voted 6-1 to defer it until the last day of the session. It’s unlikely backers can find the votes to bring the bill to the floor in spite of the committee action.

      HB 1039 was a response to the South Dakota Dept of Revenue using a soil survey to reclassify traditional rangeland as cropland if the land has even ribbons and patches of cropland soil types, regardless of whether it could actually be farmed that way. 

    The change sent tax bills skyrocketing with some ranchers reporting property tax increases of over 300%. 

       South Dakota Stockgrowers Association executive director James Halverson told the committee backers of the bill aren’t asking for a tax break, only “fairness in taxation.”

     Opponents also cited fairness and equal taxation for all, arguing the bill would shift more of the tax burden to East River producers.

    HB 1039 would have allowed the non-cropland designation to be placed on all land at more than 1,955 feet elevation and all native grasslands. It can also go on land seeded to perennial vegetation for at least 20 years and grazed but never harvested.