A first-ever live auction for wetland mitigation credits will be held on July 1, hosted by the South Dakota Ag Wetland Exchange for credits available in the Lower Big Sioux Geographical Service Area (GSA). The auction will be held near the wetland mitigation site at Wentworth, S.D.

The physical wetland mitigation site is located directly north of the Dakota Ethanol Plant along SD-Hwy 34. The live auction will take place in the Mark Mergen shop on 425 S. Main, Wentworth at 10 a.m. on July 1.

“This is a unique and unprecedented event to not only auction available wetland credits but also offer the opportunity for people to learn more about the ag wetland mitigation program and process. The South Dakota Ag Wetland Exchange is proud to have partnered with the Mergens to develop a mitigated ag wetland, which has now gone through all the proper requirements to be able to offer credits for sale,” said Krystil Smit, executive director for South Dakota Farm Bureau, the organization that administers the South Dakota Ag Wetland Exchange. 

“Our goal with the ag wetland mitigation bank program has always been to have market demand set the benchmark price for wetland credits and this auction is the perfect platform to do just that.” 

Credits for the Lower Big Sioux GSA will be auctioned off in 0.1 increments. There are currently 16.1 credits available for sale and one credit is equivalent to one acre. While the auction is open to the public, only those who have land in the Lower Big Sioux GSA are eligible to purchase credits. 

A website dedicated to the ag wetland mitigation exchange program can be found at www.sdagwetlandexchange.com. There viewers can find a map of the geographical service areas as well as information on how to both purchase available credits and/or host a wetland mitigation bank site. 

The SD Ag Wetland Mitigation Bank provides farmers with the ability to sell and buy credits to offset the loss of a wetland. Through this process, South Dakota Farm Bureau is able to connect potential buyers with available credits and work with landowners to create credits in areas where there is need. Potential buyers of credits are landowners who may need to remain or gain compliance with the Food & Security Act’s Swampbuster program. 

The South Dakota Ag Wetland Exchange currently has 4 established bank sites in the state and two more are in development. The wetland mitigation bank program is funded by a federal grant through the USDA NRCS and administered by South Dakota Farm Bureau. The program helps landowners turn low-producing land into wetlands, creating a credit that can be purchased by other producers.

Wetland mitigation bank program experts will be present at the upcoming auction to answer questions about how to host a wetland mitigation bank. For information prior to the auction, contact Brian Top at 605-359-5108 or topsoilsd@gmail.com.

“This event is an excellent opportunity for people to see first-hand how the wetland mitigation bank process works, see a restored wetland in person and witness the benefit for both the buyers of credits and for the bank site host/seller of the credits,” said Smit. “This auction event is one you don’t want to miss!”