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Heart of Ag: There is no Compromise to Private Property Rights

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

I’m a mom on a mission to fight for faith, family, freedom, food and farming. I’ve committed my life to it – at home on the ranch in Mitchell, S.D., where my husband Tyler and I raise cattle, forage crops and our four children.

I also spend considerable time on the road with the same focus. In the last two years, I’ve been a keynote speaker at 110 plus agricultural conferences across the nation, advocating for farming, ranching, food security, national security and maintaining private property rights and local government leadership.

I’ve seen the effects of overreaching government and the tangled web of public-private partnerships, which connect taxpayer dollars to big businesses, squeezing out the little guy and bulldozing over citizens along the way.

It’s happening in blue states like Michigan, New York, California and Illinois. But never in a million years did I think this same agenda – with so much of it tied to the Green New Deal – would come to roost in my freedom-loving home state of South Dakota.

Yet, right now a bad actor has slapped condemnation papers, lawsuits and threats of eminent domain on the very citizens who have built their communities and called this place home for 100-plus years. 

This bad actor is a privately-owned, out-of-state, foreign-backed company which has its eyes squarely locked on our property.

And if they have their way, they’ll use our taxpayers’ money to take what is not theirs.

Under our Constitution, we hold inherent God-given rights that, “All men are born equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting property and the pursuit of happiness. To secure these rights are instituted among men, serving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Our legislators placed their hand on a Bible and took an oath to protect and preserve the Constitution and our rights as citizens.

These rights are not theirs to give or take away. And no matter the project, no matter the economic drivers, no matter the money that could be made, no matter the incentives to build business, there is one thing in all of this that is a fact – the truth does not bend to fit our will and neither does the Constitution.

There is no compromise bill to protect landowners, because “no” should always be an option when it comes to doing business, giving access and creating relationships for economic agricultural development projects.

If I cannot say “no” as a landowner, is the property I own really even mine?

My nine-year old daughter Scarlett said something absolutely prolific last week while speaking on the Sutton Rodeo Zone Stage as part of Rodeo Rapid City. She was invited to present and share the story of her bottle calf Lucky, the social media sensation who inspired her first children’s book “Scarlett and Lucky.”

While on stage, Garrison Allen asked her two things. 

First, he asked, “Do you think you’ll be the next governor of South Dakota one day?” 

She smiled and said, “Only if I can do the job where my cows are.”

The second question he asked was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 

She answered, “I want to be exactly where my feet are – on the ranch raising cattle.”

Scarlett, at age nine, understands what many of our elected officials have forgotten or do not understand. There is blood, sweat, tears and generations of tradition and sacrifice in the land we call home.

There is no amount of money that makes it okay for a private company to seize control of what is not theirs. No $500 bill left on the table after they’ve walked onto land where they are not welcome is going to work. And, there’s simply no compromise to our private property rights. We either have them or we don’t.

South Dakota’s fearless Gov. Kristi Noem is on the road right now talking about the border crisis we face in this country. I absolutely agree with her that good fences make good neighbors.

Back at home in South Dakota, our fences are currently under attack. We are either free in South Dakota or we are not. And the history books will reflect which of our elected officials sold our freedom down the river to the highest bidder and which ones stood firm as patriots – standing in the truth, protecting our private property right and conserving the Constitution along the way. 

May God bless South Dakotans in this fight. If we hold our ground, kids like Scarlett will have the chance to pursue their dreams – to keep their feet squarely where they are planted, right here at home in South Dakota. 

Amanda Radke is a rancher, author, motivational speaker and podcast host. For more from Radke, visit

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