In North Dakota, say no to corporate farming

Letters to the Editor

For 100 years, Great Plains states have battled against corporate farming, fighting to keep farming in the hands of family farmers and ranchers. Several states have passed laws to ensure that remained the case. But, recent attacks by corporations and their lobbyists have eliminated most of those laws.

As we face the next 100 years, we need the wisdom of North Dakotans to regain control of our farm and ranch systems. They have a major opportunity to lead the charge on June 14, by voting no on Measure 1 and repealing SB 2351.

The final version of Senate Bill 2351 was passed by the North Dakota Legislature on March 19 and signed into law by Governor Jack Dalrymple on March 20 during the 2015 legislative session. The law would have lifted the anti-corporate farming law passed in 1932, allowing for corporate ownership of dairy and swine operations. The state board of the North Dakota Farmers Union unanimously voted to pursue a referendum on March 27, 2015.

Mark Watne, President of North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU), says his organization has been working diligently to ensure Senate Bill 2351 is repealed, leading the effort to challenge the legislation through initiated measure in defense of North Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers.

The 84-year history of North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law is a testament to the value North Dakotans place on family farms and ranches. Voters will decide the outcome of Measure 1 at the state’s primary election on June 14, 2016.

A vote “for” Measure 1 would uphold SB 2351, allowing domestic corporations and limited liability companies to own and operate dairy and swine facilities on up to 640 acres of land.

A vote “against” Measure 1 would repeal SB 2351, returning North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law to its previous state.

Americans are better off when those who work the nation’s farm and ranches are individuals and families who have the opportunity to control their own land and labor, and a desire to create a better future for rural and small town America. Our work to foster a family farming and ranching system that is socially just, economically equitable, and environmentally sound depends on standing up to those who seek to industrialize and corporatize agriculture, and rip the economic benefits of farming and ranching from the hands of family farmers, ranchers and the small towns they call home.

We urge all North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1.