The Roundup -

By Tie Shank 

NDFU Submitted Over 21,000 Signatures In Efforts To Overturn The "Corporate Farming Law"


On June 16, 2015 the North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) submitted over 21,000 signatures to Secretary of State Al Jaeger in attempts to overturn a newly-passed law that would allow corporations to buy, rent or lease farmland in North Dakota for dairy and swine operations. The law, SB 2351, provides an exemption from the state's corporate farming ban.

Mark Watne, NDFU president, said in a previous statement "While some folks want to see changing the Corporate Farming Law as the only real solution to developing animal agriculture in the state, or that this issue is a clear indication that family farms and rural communities are dying, the vast majority of our state's citizens do not share that opinion." He added, "They not only see family farms as the backbone of North Dakota, but they see in them what this state is all about: hard work, a secure food chain, and ingenuity."

A poll by DFM Research of St. Paul that was released by North Dakota Farmers Union showed 75 percent of North Dakotans are opposed to the legislative bill (SB 2351) that would open up the state's Corporate Farming Law to allow non-family corporations to own and operate swine and dairy farms.

The number of signatures collected in a short 90-day window far exceeded the 13,452 signatures needed to stop the law from taking effect on August 1.

Dakota Resource Council Board Chair Linda Weiss said in a statement, "We want to give a big thank you to North Dakota Farmers Union and its members for stepping up to lead this fight for family agriculture." 

Secretary of State Al Jaeger has 35 days to certify the signatures and decide whether the issue will go on the ballot. Jaeger's office said it will likely take the full 35 days to allow as many of the petition signers as possible to respond to the office's inquiries. If Jaeger approves the petition, voters will weigh in at the ballot box in June 2016.


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