Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Texas lawmakers consider legislation to prevent cities from self-governance, Connecticut considers policy options to alleviate an eviction crisis, and Ohio residents await community water systems.


Gov. Ron DeSantis breaks his silence on Trump's potential indictment and attacks Manhattan prosecutors, President Biden vetoes his first bill to protect socially conscious retirement investing, and the Supreme Court hears a case on Native American water rights.


The 41st state has opted into Medicaid which could be a lifeline for rural hospitals in North Carolina, homelessness barely rose in the past two years but the work required to hold the numbers increased, and destruction of the "Sagebrush Sea" from Oregon to Wyoming is putting protection efforts for an itty-bitty bunny on the map.

Regulatory, Tribal Impacts Hang Over ND's Corporate Farming Debate


Thursday, February 2, 2023   

North Dakota's plan to boost animal agriculture has reignited a thorny issue: loosening restrictions on corporate ownership of farms. The state said it's about competition, but there are renewed concerns about environmental setbacks, as well as tribal considerations.

A bill in the Legislature would bring some big changes to a decades-old law prohibiting corporations from owning North Dakota farmland. Exemptions would essentially be applied to cattle, hog and poultry feedlots and dairies.

Scott Skokos, executive director of the Dakota Resource Council, worries the state does not have the regulatory capacity to monitor a potential influx of factory farms.

"I don't necessarily think that we have robust enough rules for us to really welcome an industry that will come in [here] in large scale, most likely," Skokos pointed out.

He contended if regulations lag behind development, waterways would become polluted and air quality would suffer. Tribal advocates worry about dumping of waste near reservations, pointing to examples from the fossil-fuel industry.

The state's agriculture commissioner told a House committee it is about having companies partnering with local farms, while noting there would still be restrictions.

The bill includes a limit of 160 acres in setting a business structure for corporate ownership.

Nicole Donaghy, executive director of North Dakota Native Vote, said such a property can still hold a lot of animals and is not sustainable. She also argued corporations would be able to work around the limitations.

"All it takes is creating another subsidiary in order to obtain another 160 acres," Donaghy asserted.

Her group's research showed it means up to 2,600 farms could be used to gain a competitive advantage.

Meanwhile, state leaders have testified extra manure from the operations could improve soil health. Skokos acknowledged while it is true, the risks are far greater.

"The volume that we're looking at if we get to the scale that people want to get to in North Dakota would be very damaging," Skokos emphasized.

Leaders in Bismarck have argued the state needs to complement its grain production by making significant gains in livestock, noting North Dakota is falling behind neighboring states. The bill is expected to see more debate in the coming weeks.

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.

get more stories like this via email
At least 124 bills have been introduced nationwide this year targeting LGBTQ rights in schools and educational settings, freedom of speech and expression, and access to medically necessary health care for transgender people, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Educators in New Hampshire say a proposed "parental bill of rights" before lawmakers discriminates against LGBTQ students. The legislation requires …

Social Issues

Leaders of the Wabanaki Nations are asking Maine lawmakers to recognize tribal sovereignty and help ensure a better economic future for their youth…

Social Issues

American democracy is in mortal danger as the 2024 election approaches, according to experts at a conference held at the University of California…

New Mexico has followed Texas' lead by passing preemptive legislation to ban the storage of high-level radioactive waste in the state. (Tiero/AdobeStock)


Like Nevada, New Mexico has rejected a proposed interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel. Responding to the Federal Nuclear Regulatory …

Social Issues

New Mexico's LGBTQ community will soon have additional protections after existing language in state law was updated by the Legislature. Sen…


Thousands of lives are cut short every year because of air pollution from coal-fired power plants in Wyoming and across the United States, according …

Social Issues

New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show another increase in the nation's maternal mortality rate, and a Minnesota expert …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021