As I’m writing this, it’s a balmy 40 degrees in Gackle.
What a difference a year makes! Last year at this time, we already had had about two feet of snow and a couple pretty nasty blizzards.
I’m certainly not complaining, as we’ve been fortunate to be able to graze corn stalks and not have to feed yet. A change is in the forecast though, so, by the time you read this, it’s likely going to be much colder.
We held our New Board Orientation at the end of November, and I am very excited to welcome the five new directors to the board. We had a great meeting, beginning with the staff giving them a tour of the office and an explana
on of the NDSA’s programs and concluding with a question-and-answer session about industry hot topics.
The Tokyo Broadcasting Network, one of Japan’s major television networks, visited our ranch the first week in December. They came to North Dakota to visit with ranchers and others about the Trump Administration’s first year in office for a piece that is expected to air later this month. The crew happened to show up the day we were PGing our cows. They got quite an education, as this was something they had never seen before. It was also the day we had about 5 inches of snow and a cold 30-mile-per-hour northwest wind.
After a day of shooting video of our operation, we were able to sit down and talk about things like trade and the rollback of the Waters of the United States rule. It was truly a privilege to host them. They were also able to take in part of our board meeting, where they visited with many of your directors.
As usual, the quarterly meeting had a full agenda. One of the major issues was the Electronic Logging Device rule. This is an issue we have been working on for quite some time. While the rule went into effect for most trucks last month, fortunately, we were able to get a 90-day waiver for those transporting agricultural commodities. That gives us until March 15 to work with our Congressional delegation and other decision-makers on a permanent solution that works for livestock truckers and the animals they transport.
We also heard from Dr. Greg Lardy of the North Dakota State University Animal Sciences Department, who reported on everything from increased enrollment to challenges in filling positions due to the budget situation.
The State Board of Agricultural Research and Education completed its second round of stakeholder input sessions last month as it prepares to identify the state’s agricultural priorities and budget for the next legislative session.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. Here’s wishing you a peaceful and prosperous 2018.