Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

ND's Anti-Corporate Farming Law Faces New Fight Over Ownership Rules

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Wednesday, December 21, 2022   

Gov. Doug Burgum wants amendments to North Dakota's anti-corporate farming law, arguing certain rules make it harder to boost livestock production, but advocates for smaller producers worry about potential ripple effects.

The state law in question, in place for 90 years, does not allow corporations to purchase agricultural property. The idea has been to protect family farms. The governor proposed lifting ownership restrictions dealing with livestock.

Sarah Vogel, the state's former agriculture commissioner, feels changes would result in corporations wiping out the socioeconomic fabric of smaller communities.

"When a corporation buys the farmland, they might be bringing their supplies by semi-truck, owned by another subsidiary of the same corporation," Vogel explained. "And towns where corporate farms dominate, you see those small businesses die and wither."

Vogel contended farmers can obtain more land for livestock production by coming together to form cooperatives. A statement from the governor's office said aside from seeking amendments for ranches, the rest of the law would remain intact. In 2016, voters rejected moves by the Legislature to relax some elements of the law.

Environmental groups worry any changes would lead to pollution issues seen in other states after regulations are loosened.

Scott Skokos, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, said a primary concern is the waste from large confined animal feeding operations wreaking havoc on local waterways.

"Places like Des Moines and other places in Iowa have had to spend millions of dollars to treat their water because it has been polluted by both runoff," Skokos pointed out. "And then also the animal feces from the CAFOs."

The law does have corporate ownership exemptions for families, but the governor said it should be expanded to allow unrelated individuals to pursue large investments in livestock operations. His office said North Dakota is falling behind neighboring states for this type of farm production.

Disclosure: The Dakota Resource Council contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, and Rural/Farming Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

References:  
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