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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Marshall County Considers Permit for Veblen East Dairy

The Veblen East Dairy in northeastern South Dakota faces another challenge today to its continued operation and pollution of the Whetstone Valley watershed. Included on the Marshall County Commission's agenda this morning is an 11 a.m. hearing to consider a conditional use permit for the "new" owners of the bankrupt Veblen East Dairy.

"New" deserves those "not really" quote marks: Vista "Family" Dairies, which bought Veblen East at less than half its value at bankruptcy auction last month, is made up mostly of the same equity owners who banked on the messy operations of Veblen East and sister dairy Veblen West over the last couple years. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

So really, the Marshall County Commission is considering issuing a conditional use permit—i.e., a special favor, an excuse to conduct operations that fall outside the normal zoning rules—to the same bunch who couldn't keep the Veblen East Dairy running properly in the first place.

A county commission acting in the interest of its constituents would use today's hearing to ask some hard questions and allow neighbors from all along the watershed to put their concerns on the public record. Let's see if that's what happens....

Update 2010.10.20 12:51 CDT: From today's Marshall County Journal:

In other business, about 20 people were present when the board approved a conditional use permit to either Vista Family Dairies, LLC or Whetstone Valley Dairy, LLC for the Veblen East Dairy Limited Partnership. The permit was requested by Lee Ann Pierce, Chapter 11 bankruptcy trustee ["Board Hires Deputy Auditor," Marshall County Journal, 2010.10.20].


  1. Sandra Banish10/19/2010 8:32 AM

    It has been over 30 days since the sale of Veblen East Dairy. Why don't the trustee just give it to the second bidder. Why should Vista Family Dairies get special treatment. I do not understand this at all.

  2. [Anonymous comment deleted. Reminder: it's not an honest question unless you put your name to it. Include your name with your comments, please.]

  3. please answer my questions

  4. Thanks, Tim. You asked anonymously earlier, "one question i have is what do you have against these dairies? dont you have anything better to write about then these dairies?" I write about this topic because the dairies have a significant impact on the economic and environmental well-being of my fellow South Dakotans.

    Now, Time, you've asked about my motivations for writing; I'd like to ask about yours. What do you have in favor of these dairies? Why do you think it is more important to discuss my writing habits than the harmful business practices and violations of environmental law of the Veblen dairies?

  5. Sandra Banish10/21/2010 5:03 AM

    As a farmer which is owed money from Veblen East Dairy,South Dakota,I believe there will not be any payments to me for the debt that is owed to my farm. The last I saw, there were over 300 creditors listed on the Veblen East Dairy Bankruptcy. The debt for Veblen East Dairy is over 60 million. The sale was only 21 million. Do the math.
    Many promises have been made, many promises have been broken. Only time will tell what is going to happen to the dairies in Veblen,SD. This financial disaster has put a dark cloud on this community. I hope the cloud is lifted very soon.


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