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You have what De Smet needs: Land!

By Jamie Lancaster

Oral tradition can carry significant events from generation to generation as family history is passed down through stories and legend. In my wife’s family there is the story of how their ancestors homesteaded in Montana in the early 20th century, but the land left the family about forty years later. Through some detective work on and a few strategic searches through the Bureau of Land Management Land Patent data base this past weekend, we were able to find the actual piece of farmland claimed by Nicole’s great-great-grandfather and where her great-grandfather and current patriarch of the family story, her 89-year-old grandfather, were born.

Land is an important part of identity and tradition for many families, especially in South Dakota. Whether a large swath of verdant farmland, rutted hills with roaming cattle, or a small city lot that once held a small pioneer home, many families today live on or near the land that defined previous generations. Sometimes one’s story involves that precious section of dirt, grass, and trees, passing out of one long-held tradition to spark new stories as another family forges their way in the world.

Right now, there are individuals and families looking to De Smet as their next home and they dream of the opportunity to forge their own histories on land within and around our little town on the prairie. In fact, currently, we are facing one of the highest demands for property in De Smet and the surrounding area since the days of the pioneers. This demand is only going to increase in the coming months and years as the development of GEVO accelerates this spring. Once construction begins to wrap up, there will be dozens of families hoping to sink their roots down locally as people grab hold of many of the well-paying, permanent positions with the jet fuel plant and accompanying clean energy production facility by Juhl Energy Inc.

That is where you come in. You have what De Smet needs: Land! Many of those reading this have property that could be the beginning of another family’s story. Whether a small lot sandwiched between a couple of existing homes, a larger piece that stretches from street to street, or even a multi-acre property that is sitting unused or underutilized, one might be surprised how many options lie in De Smet for building new homes.

The De Smet Development Corporation has a long history of helping our city and citizens adapt to changes and position ourselves to make the best of what the future brings. One of our primary goals is to meet the housing need that is so strongly felt right now. For our local economy to continue growing and thriving, the Development Corporation is committed to facilitating improvement of our housing availability now and in the years to come.

Perhaps you have never thought that your bit of real estate would be something anyone would want. Or, maybe you have decided, in the past, to hold on to it longer, but are now reconsidering. Possibly, you have never considered it at all; it just has always been there. Now is as good a time as any to think about it. You may be surprised who might find it to be the perfect little paradise. What type of properties might work? From small “infill” lots, to larger “estate” lots, all the way up to acreages that would need to be subdivided and developed, the possibilities are wide open.

If you are interested in allowing new stories to be forged on your land, what would that look like? There are many ways to go forward, but it all starts with a conversation. Let’s talk! You can come by the Development Corporation Office in City Hall, email me at, or call me, 805-540-0919.

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