House ag panel gives corporate farm exemptions do-pass recommendation
BISMARCK -- North Dakota's House Agriculture Committee voted 8-5 to recommend a do-pass on a bill that would create exemptions for dairy and swine in the state anti-corporate farming law.
BISMARCK - North Dakota’s House Agriculture Committee voted 8-5 to recommend a do-pass on a bill that would create exemptions for dairy and swine in the state anti-corporate farming law.
Committee members unanimously voted for an amendment by Rep. Craig Headland, R-Montpelier, to require a corporation establish a swine or dairy farm within a three-year period. A new operation would operated by a concentrated animal feeding operation and must be a domestic corporation. It would give the agriculture commissioner authority to adopt other rules and notify the attorney general, but Headland acknowledged a corporation to be involved in a series of legally distinct corporations or partnerships, meaning it can be involved in more than one corporation taking advantage of the exemption.
The committee rejected 3-10 a Headland amendment that would have added beef feedlot operations to the exemptions.
North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne said he was disappointed, but said his organization will work to prevent passage in the full Senate and prevent its signing by the governor. Watne and other critics say the bill opens the door to corporate ownership of beef feedlots above the bill’s current size cap of 640 acres, or one square mile.
In an eight-hour committee hearing Thursday, the bill’s prime sponsor state Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown, told the committee the proposed exemptions to the state’s anti-corporate farming law are only for swine and dairy.