YANKTON, S.D. (KCAU) — A Yankton hops farm is back in business after a County Board of Commissioners decision.
The Sixth Meridian Hops Farm along the northside of Lake Yankton has new life and will get to continue on as one of Siouxland’s few agri-tourism businesses.
Last year, landowner Ryan Heine was told his entertainment ventures at Sixth Meridian Hops Farm could not go on.
The property was zoned as rural transitional and the chairman of Yankton County’s Board of Commissioners explained what part of Heine’s business was out of that zone’s compliance.
“Why the zoning had to change is probably the agri-tourism side of things, to have events and tours and concessions and drinks and things of that nature out there,” said Chairman Joe Healy.
Heine then requested a rezoning to agricultural land and after much debate and plenty of community support, the board approved his request Tuesday night on a 3 to 1 vote.
Heine said he hadn’t seen many of the people who came to the meeting in two years, the last time his farm was able to host patrons.
“It was a great evening every night and I really kind of missed that and to see some of the people that would come down on a regular basis come out last night, it was really great,” said owner Ryan Heinie.
Opposition to Heine said he could have rezoned to Lakeside Commercial like his neighboring campground site, but Heine said that wasn’t in his family’s best interest.
“Lakeside Commercial doesn’t have any mention of any agriculture in it and so a lot of the reasoning that they were using with rural transitional against the bar can now be reversed against our whole farm. When we looked at that, we’d rather have the farm than the bar,” said Heine.
The local craft beer industry is thankful Heine’s operation can legally proceed as the farm produces the Dakota Challenger Hop used by several Siouxland breweries and is exclusive to the fertile Yankton soil.
“We have a hop down here that just grows better here than anywhere else in the world right now, and it’s one of the main ingredients that Bens use in his beer and it just brings this huge uniqueness to all his beers,” said Heini.
Heine said if everything goes according to plan, he is in contact with several music groups who would like to play at Sixth Meridian Beer Festival this summer.