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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — In a Dec. 19 story about a South Dakota’s tax break program that rewards farmers for planting buffer strips between their crops and polluted bodies of water, The Associated Press misspelled South Dakota Farm Bureau Executive Director Krystil Smit’s name. The official’s surname is “Smit,” not “Smith.”

A corrected version of the story is below:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Few South Dakota farmers have taken advantage of Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s tax break program that rewards those who plant grass or wildflowers between their crops and polluted lakes, rivers or streams.

The state’s Department of Revenue received only 30 applications in the first year of the buffer strip program, the Argus Leader reported.

The governor’s program permits farmers who put runoff-absorbing grass or wildflowers between crops and certain water bodies to have their land taxed at 60 percent of its value.

The buffer strip applications amount to about 300 acres of the state’s more than 338,000 eligible acres of land. The sparse number of applicants suggests that many qualified landowners were either unaware of the tax break or didn’t see enough value to bother signing up.

“Why they didn’t all come in and apply, I don’t know,” said Mike Houdyshell, director of the South Dakota Department of Revenue.

David Ganje is a Rapid City lawyer who specializes in natural resources. Ganje called the buffer strip program “a good idea with weak muscles” in part because it’s managed by the Revenue Department. “The department has no expertise in environmental or agricultural matters and is not a ‘go-to’ agency for landowners with questions,” said Ganje.

Janell Christiansen of Lennox said she applied to the program after stumbling across an article online. “That was not advertised very well,” Christensen said. “I think I really did luck out.”

The governor’s office sent out a press release. The Revenue Department posted deadline reminders over Twitter and Facebook. But, there was little to no other formal outreach beyond these efforts.

Getting the word out is critical, according to Krystil Smit of the South Dakota Farm Bureau. “It does emphasize a need for people to be out talking about it,” Smit said.


Information from: Argus Leader,