Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station
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The old sheep shed was demolished to make room for the Dakota Events Center (DEX) after the former beef facility burned down in October 2020.
SDSU Extension

New sheep barn on state fairgrounds on hold

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Stakeholders in the sheep industry in South Dakota have been waiting patiently for a new sheep barn on the state fairgrounds, Republican Rep. Roger Chase said on Wednesday.

They will wait a bit longer as the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations deferred action on House Bill 1065 that will allow $8 million in funding for a new multi-use building geared toward sheep on the fairgrounds. The committee is expected to discuss the bill again during the session.

The $8 million includes money raised, general fund money and money from other state funds. But based on testimony from South Dakota Department of Natural Resources Secretary Hunter Roberts, the total cost will be less than $8 million.

So far, $1.8 million has been raised for the project and more is expected if HB1065 is approved, South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) officials said.

Officials from the DANR testified in support of HB1065. A full slate of citizens also testified in support of the bill saying it would provide a much-needed venue for sheep during the state fair and for livestock shows outside of the state fair dates. DANR officials and supporters also said it would be a venue for weddings and other events.

The old sheep shed was demolished to make room for the Dakota Events Center (DEX) after the former beef facility burned down in October 2020.

Committee member Republican Sen. Jack Kolbeck asked the DANR officials if the $8 million would be enough. The DANR has returned to the committee for additional money for the DEX on the state fairgrounds.

“I think we will be solid,” Roberts said. The DANR does not want to return to appropriations and ask for money, he said.

The DANR has had 18 months to study the sheep shed facility and develop a cost estimate. The original beef facility burned down in October of 2020. The DANR had far less time to come up with a plan for the DEX for the 2021 legislative session, Roberts said.

The DANR did not provide a cost break down for the pieces of the project which include demolition of the former sheep shed and construction of the new facility.

Committee member Republican Rep. John Mills asked how the total project total cost was broken down.

Roberts said that break down would be emailed to committee members.

Committee co-chair Republican Sen. Jean Hunhoff asked what was the estimated total cost for the project.

Roberts said originally it was $8 million but it’s been reduced to $6.1 million to $6.2 million.

If the cost needs to be cut, Roberts said concrete flooring in the facility areas outside of the offices. The estimated cost of concrete flooring is $250,000 to $400,000, he said.

The facility would be used for the state fair sheep show but also for other livestock shows.

DANR state fair manager Peggy Besch said for example, a national sheep show, other fairgrounds facilities such as the DEX would also be needed.

The plan is to rent the sheep facility for cold storage from late October into March or April 1, Roberts said.

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