- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

NEWELL, S.D. (AP) - A South Dakota man who won a $232 million Powerball jackpot in 2009 is now getting paid to let government horses roam his land.

More than 900 excess horses chosen from free-roaming herds on Bureau of Land Management ranges in other states are now grazing on a pasture owned by Neil Wanless, reported the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/2eVcfxP ).

The land is about 75 miles northeast of Rapid City or 25 miles east of Newell. Wanless bought the land with his Powerball proceeds, which totaled $89 million after taxes.

The horses will be moved around to different parts of the ranch throughout the year to avoid overgrazing. They will have access to drink from dams and a water system Wanless installed. The horses will be able to live mostly free until death. The average age of horses on the Wanless land are 15 to 17 years and some live until they are as old as 34.

In the deal, the government pays Midland-based Spur Livestock LLC a varying rate around $2 per head each day to ensure the horses are fed, watered and kept relatively wild. In turn, Wanless has an arrangement with the company to keep the horses on his land.

BLM is bound by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act approved by Congress in 1971, that protect wild free-roaming and burros from capture, branding, harassment or death.

However some wild horses on non-BLM federal lands are not protected by the 1971 law. Those horses are often adopted or rescued by private sanctuaries when they reach unsustainable numbers.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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