Goehring jumps into N.D. agriculture commissioner jobTwo-time agriculture commissioner candidate Doug Goehring “has demonstrated to the people of North Dakota that he has a burning desire for this job,” Gov. John Hoeven said Monday as he named the Menoken, N.D., farmer to the post. Goehring, 43, ran against the former commissioner, Roger Johnson, in 2004 and 2006 “and came within a whisker” of being elected, Hoeven said. He also cited Goehring’s active, lifelong farming career, experience in insurance matters and knowledge of exporting and biofuels.
By: By Janell Cole, N.D. Capitol Bureau, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — Two-time agriculture commissioner candidate Doug Goehring “has demonstrated to the people of North Dakota that he has a burning desire for this job,” Gov. John Hoeven said Monday as he named the Menoken, N.D., farmer to the post.
Goehring, 43, ran against the former commissioner, Roger Johnson, in 2004 and 2006 “and came within a whisker” of being elected, Hoeven said. He also cited Goehring’s active, lifelong farming career, experience in insurance matters and knowledge of exporting and biofuels.
“He’s bringing that experience right off the farm into his role as the ag commissioner and I think that’s important,” Hoeven said. “It’s not like he woke up two weeks ago and said, ‘Gee, I’d like to be ag commissioner.’ ”
Goehring will seek election next year to a four-year term.
Johnson resigned effective last Friday because he was elected in March to be the new president of the National Farmers Union. He had held office since first winning election in 1996.
Hoeven announced Goehring’s appointment at 10 a.m. and Goehring took office immediately. He went straight to the Agriculture Department on the Capitol’s Sixth Floor after the announcement and started work, making the acquaintance of the staff and holding meetings, including a conference call with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. He paused briefly for a light lunch of iced tea and two hard-cooked eggs from the Capitol’s cafeteria.
Goehring told reporters, legislators and others assembled for the announcement that, as for pressing issues, he’s worried about the township and county roads that have been under stress from the winter’s record snowfalls and current flooding. That’s cost agriculture producers access to markets, he said.
In addition, many farmers had to leave crops in the field last fall when soaking rains made them inaccessible. Some of those fields are still snowed in, making the prospects for spring planting in parts of the state dire, he said.
Goehring said he’ll work for reforms in federal crop insurance and hopes to spur more agricultural research into cereal grains and biotech crops.
Goehring farms about 2,000 acres and grows corn, soybeans, field peas, spring wheat, winter wheat, alfalfa and canola. Asked who is going to plant his own crop this year, he said he’ll depend on the help of his father, his son and part time help.
Goehring is also an investor in the Red Trail Energy ethanol plant at Richardton, N.D., is a former state vice president of the North Dakota Farm Bureau and was president of the Farm Bureau’s insurance company, Nodak Mutual.
Goehring is the first Republican in more than 20 years to hold the job. Before Johnson, Sarah Vogel served from 1989-96. She ousted Republican incumbent Kent Jones in the 1988 election, who also served eight years.
Hoeven said 12 people expressed serious interest in the appointment and he interviewed six. The other five interviewed were Sen. Curt Olafson, R-Edinburg; Sen. Joe Miller, R-Park River; Rep. Duane DeKrey, R-Pettibone; his deputy chief of staff and agriculture adviser, Lance Gaebe, and Cindy Beck of Wahpeton.
Cole works for Forum Communications Co., which owns The Jamestown Sun