Sturgis rancher shares trash woes

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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Some studies say the average American produces nearly six pounds of trash a day, and not all of it ends up in the garbage can.

Trash and plastic litter the ditches and fencing of the Blair Brothers Angus Ranch near Sturgis.

The Blair brothers share a fence line with the Full Throttle Saloon.

With their close proximity to Highway 79 and the bar, they say trash blows over to their land, and they're constantly picking it up.

Britton Blair, co-owner, Blair Brothers Angus Ranch, says, "Constantly trash in the ditch or trash on the fence. People just on my driveway have left McDonald's bags, beer cans. You'll find dirty diapers that somebody stopped and changed their kid on the side of the road."

The 25,000-acre ranch sits along three miles of highway.

Blair helps his family care for hundreds of cattle, and trash always makes him worry for his animals' safety.

Britton Blair says, "You'll find a calf chewing on a plastic bag once in a while or a piece of plastic hanging in the fence. I think mostly they're just doing it out of boredom, but it sure can be a hazard. A cow can get it stuck in their stomach and get what we call hardware disease. It'll actually eventually lead to their death."

Ranchers and wildlife aren't the only ones negatively impacted by trash.

Chad Tussing from Game, Fish, and Parks says the land suffers as well.

Chad Tussing, director, South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, says, "A lot of trash, pollution isn't biodegradable so it does create some problems. Plastics, they don't break down easily and so they end up in the soil. They could end up tangled up in the plants."

Blair believes sometimes ranchers are the true environmentalists, keeping private lands healthy and viable.

And he hopes people realize that one man's trash is not always another man's treasure.