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Letter to the editor: Conservation measure allows state to design programs

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As a North Dakota farmer, I support options to diversify my operation. I want voluntary conservation programs that enhance my property while maintaining healthy soils and productive farmland for future generations. I believe we landowners have a responsibility to conserve our wonderful clean water and natural resources for those who come after us. The Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment will provide that perfect match for agriculture operators.

The Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment will put money in the pockets of North Dakota farmers and ranchers who enroll in voluntary conservation programs on private lands. All of the current federal conservation programs are oversubscribed. About half of the farmers applying for the conservation reserve program get turned down. The amendment will allow North Dakotans to design programs that work best for us instead of waiting for the federal government.

Don’t be misled by scare tactics. Every granting decision will need to be approved by a commission made up of the governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner. I’m sure those three elected officials will make decisions that respect agriculture. In addition, this commission will have recommendations from a citizen board — most members being appointed by the governor — with four legislators.

We farmers work the land. We need options to do what we do best — providing food for the world while taking care of our water and land. The Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment can do all that without raising taxes. I’m in.

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