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Letter to the editor: HB 1388 another attempt to undo corporate farming law


For those in the North Dakota House who supported this bill, it’s either a reenactment of ignorance or tone-deaf arrogance! Just two short years ago, the Legislature backed by the Farm Bureau, attempted to undo the corporate farming law that was enacted in the early 1930s to protect this state’s farmland from the theft by Big Money and uncontrolled corporate interests at a time when countless farms were going under from the Great Depression and the devastating drought. The voters of this state back then had the wisdom and foresight to recognize the harm this would bring to not only rural America, but to this country as a whole. Two years ago the voters had that same recurring foresight to reaffirm this law, which has survived many attempts  by those of self-serving, foolish, resentful, and narrow-minded ideals. The Farm Bureau is purely resentful and spiteful because they were dealt a resounding defeat by the supermajority of 76% of the voters siding with the Farmers Union. That referral was an extensive and lengthy process as well as expensive. The arrogance of the House is far beneath decency of respect for the voters.

Statistics: There are approximately 31,000 farms in North Dakota. Owners are broken down to: Family Owned- 90.7% (27,578); Partnerships-7% (2,124); Corporations-2.3% (707).                                 The change in the bill’s language adds “2nd cousins” to those allowed to incorporate together. I can’t imagine who would buy farmland with a first cousin, much less a second cousin. To my knowledge only two families have come forward who would use this “change,” and one of them is a sponsor of this bill. This is a real problem when elected officials put themselves ahead of their duty to ethically do the work of the state (or country) for which they are elected. If there were five families that would make use of this narrow-minded change, this would be .016% (.00016) of total farms, or not even 1% of corporate farms. Again, the Farmers Union represents farmers and the industry of farming, while the Farm Bureau represents assets and personal agendas.

An article in a paper last fall questioned where does the Farm Bureau go from here, referring to the defeat of its legislation of last session? There was no mention of any other proposals to aid the hog and dairy industries, clearly spelling out their true motive which was simply to chip away at the current corporate farming law.       

Regardless of where you live in this state, please contact your senator and urge a resounding “No” vote on HB1388. This bill will hit the floor this coming week! Thank you.