Ag Policy

 AG POLICY COMMITTEE

Lowell Malard, Chairman
Joel Opp, Vice Chairman
 
20-Resolution passed in 2020
19-Resolution passed in 2019
18-Resolution passed in 2018
 

AG LABOR - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, agricultural operation sizes have grown to encompass more acres and an­imal units; and

WHEREAS, the need for a willing, skilled labor force is a necessity and is currently lim­ited.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports policies that encourage the development of a willing, skilled and legal labor force.

 

ANTIQUITIES ACT - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, the Antiquities Act of 1906 has been used to create National Monuments against the will of the people who are most directly affected by these designations; and

WHEREAS, by the authorization of only the president of the United States, National Monuments can be established that supersede all other public and Congressional input; and

WHEREAS, the intent of this act was not to create land preserves that the federal gov­ernment would control and dictate social, eco­nomic, cultural and business enterprises.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports Congressional action that will abolish this act altogether.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA urges the National Cat­tlemen’s Beef Association to pursue the abol­ishment of the Antiquities Act as well.

 

BEEF SUSTAINABILITY - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, “sustainability” has become a buzzword in the industry; and

WHEREAS, the definition of sustainabili­ty has economic ramifications for all industry segments; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA believes that any definition of sustainability should include economic viability of each industry segment, including cow-calf producers, because a ranching operation that is not profitable is not sustainable; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA also believes that any beef sustainability program should be vol­untary, market-driven and science-based; and

WHEREAS, several major foodservice and retail customers have committed to sourcing beef that is sustainably produced; and

WHEREAS, there are several entities and organizations attempting to define beef sus­tainability and evaluate beef suppliers using metrics that were developed with limited in­put from the beef supply chain; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. beef industry has completed a U.S. beef sustainability assess­ment, certified by a third party, to benchmark the beef supply chain and provide a means to periodically assess progress over time.

         THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in leading discussions about beef sustainability with industry partners to ensure that economic viability and production efficiencies are at the center of any programs they develop and decisions they make relating to this topic.

 

CORN SILAGE INSURANCE DATE - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, corn silage is an important forage crop for North Dakota livestock pro­ducers; and

WHEREAS, producers have the opportuni­ty to utilize federal crop insurance to mitigate the financial risk of the loss of that crop to a natural disaster; and

WHEREAS, advances in plant genetics and agronomic practices have led to longer maturing, higher yielding silage varieties with subsequently later harvest dates; and

WHEREAS, Risk Management Agency has set the “termination of insurance and final harvest date” for corn silage in North Dakota as Sept. 30; and

WHEREAS, the Sept. 30 date does not al­ways reach the actual final harvest date and, therefore, exposes North Dakota livestock producers to uncovered financial risk.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA pursues a final corn silage harvest date of Oct. 31, which better represents the actual length of exposure to financial loss that North Dakota livestock producers incur when grow­ing corn for silage.

 

FARM POLICY CONFLICT - 20 (AP)

      WHEREAS, many of the current feder­al farm policies, conservation programs and legislative actions are being influenced by wildlife and conservation organizations that are putting wildlife production and hunting opportunities ahead of food production and ag producers’ livelihood; and

WHEREAS, these policies may require producers to choose between participating in farm or conservation programs and their prop­erty rights.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes legislation or policy that re­quire landowners to forfeit any of their prop­erty rights, such as controlling access as a part of any state or federal programs or actions.

        THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA supports the right of producers to voluntarily close their private lands to public access as a means to bring awareness of and change to these restrictive policies being advocated by these wildlife or­ganizations.

 

FEDERAL BUDGET & TAXES - 20 (AP)

BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA requests Congress and the Administration to develop realistic spending priorities in order to make real and significant budget cuts and to enact a balanced budget.

 

IMPUTED INTEREST RATES - 20 (AP)

BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports improvement or repeal of the federal imput­ed interest rate rules, which effectively set the interest rate that is charged on seller-financed transactions of homes, farms, ranches and small businesses.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA resists all attempts by the federal government to set interest rates on owner contracts of real estate and business.

 

INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGES - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, oil and gas development is having a detrimental impact on rural commu­nities; and

WHEREAS, oil drilling permits are being issued at a rate faster than local infrastructure systems can handle the impact.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a change in the permitting process that would involve input from local, county and city commissions that would allow development at a pace that can be sustained by the communities.

 

LIVESTOCK PROTECTION - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, the NDSA is a strong support­er of private property rights and animal stew­ardship; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA has a history of shaping state laws and regulations that protect individuals’ rights to operate a livestock op­eration without onerous rules and regulations regarding animal-care practices; and

WHEREAS, it is recognized that new sit­uations will continue to arise, testing our ani­mal husbandry practices and private property rights.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA monitors any events that challenge the rights producers have to own and care for live­stock in North Dakota.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA works to streamline and improve laws that affect livestock, livestock production and livestock producers.8

 

NATIONAL GRASSLANDS MANAGEMENT PLAN - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, the 2002 Dakota Prairie Grasslands Plan could spell economic hard­ship to those communities dependent on these lands for their livelihood while accomplishing few benefits to the land or wildlife; and

        WHEREAS, empirical and scientific ev­idence from North Dakota State University (NDSU) range scientists, the Forest Service and grazing associations involved supports alternatives that promote wildlife and range­land health without significant livestock re­ductions; and

WHEREAS, the multi-million-dollar For­est Service budget on the grasslands is mis­directed.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the Dakota Prairie Grasslands Plan.

        THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA supports alternatives based on NDSU range science and rangeland health by urging the North Dakota Congres­sional delegation to work toward cost-effec­tive solutions without significant livestock reductions.

         THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA supports returning the management of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands to the Natural Resources Conservation Ser­vice to focus on rangeland health that includes adequate wildlife habitat and a more cost-ef­fective budget.

 

PERMANENT PREVENTED PLANT FLEXIBILITY - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, in the event of a natural disas­ter, prevented-plant acres can sometimes sup­port a crop beneficial to livestock producers; and

WHEREAS, the current beginning haying and grazing date for these acres, which applies nationwide, is Nov. 1; and

WHEREAS, the climate in the Northern Plains differs greatly compared to other re­gions in the country; and

WHEREAS, conditions in the Northern Plains on Nov. 1 often inhibit producers from utilizing prevented-plant acres for haying and grazing.

        THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA pursues a permanent change to the Nov. 1 utilization date to a date more con­ducive to the Northern environment and that provides a timely and higher quality feed source to sustain cattle herds in unfavorable conditions.

 

PERPETUAL EASEMENTS - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, the NDSA believes each gen­eration should have the same opportunities as the one that came before to implement deci­sions in the management and stewardship of their owned lands; and

WHEREAS, perpetual easement agree­ments regarding federal conservation pro­grams will limit these decisions by future generations and can be changed to further limit what management practices can be im­plemented in the future.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes easements that limit man­agement or stewardship practices on a per­petual basis and supports using voluntary, single-generation and renewable easements in their place.

 

PREVENTED PLANT APH RAMIFICATIONS - 20 (AP)

        WHEREAS, current rules applying to pre­vented-plant acres reduce a producer’s pay­ment and result in a negative effect to his or her Actual Production History (APH) if he or she chooses to plant and harvest a hay crop on those acres before the deadline.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA works to lessen the financial penalty and eliminate the APH reduction for the early utilization of prevented-plant acres.

 

PROPERTY RIGHTS - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, recent activities have exposed flaws in North Dakota’s laws that fail to pro­tect ag property from trespass violations; and

WHEREAS, these laws discriminate by putting more stringent requirements on ag property owners than they do on non-ag-prop­erty owners in order to receive protection; and9

WHEREAS, some recent trespass charges have been dismissed by the court system due to these discriminating requirements that are difficult and costly to comply with.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA takes the lead to identify other organi­zations, companies and individuals that may support a legal remedy to correcting these laws.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA moves forward with le­gal action if warranted and encourage support from others.

 

PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION IN WILDLIFE SITUATIONS – 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, North Dakota livestock pro­ducers have a right and an obligation to pro­tect their animals against wildlife, predator and non-predator alike; and

WHEREAS, agencies that manage and pro­tect wildlife within North Dakota do not bear all the burden from the damage caused by wild animals and, at times, are unreachable in a timely manner to deal with the issues caused by the wildlife; and

WHEREAS, it may be necessary to dis­patch wildlife that are causing harm to one’s livestock, which are an income source and private property.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA works with the North Dakota Legisla­ture to ensure producers’ rights to defend their private property against wildlife are fortified.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA in no way promotes un­necessary elimination of wildlife.

 

STATE SCHOOL LANDS LEASE AUCTIONS - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, parcels managed by the North Dakota Department of Trust Lands are import­ant and integral parts of many North Dakota livestock producers’ grazing systems; and

WHEREAS, the leasing of trust lands is spelled out in North Dakota Century Code, which calls for an open public auction in the applicable county seats; and

WHEREAS, changes to the surface leasing auctions authorized through executive order in 2020 could impair the openness and trans­parency of the auctions and prematurely close the auctions even when there are still active bidders.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA recommends any changes to state school land leasing auctions be approved by the North Dakota Land Board prior to the gov­ernor issuing an executive order.

       THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA supports the continu­ation of open public auctions for the leasing of state school lands as currently defined by law and advocates for an open and transparent process in which the final bid, not time, deter­mines the final price.

 

TRESPASSING - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, many landowners in North Dakota feel their property rights are being abused by trespassing; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA has always been a strong supporter of property rights.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports legislation or legal actions that would initiate a no-trespass law on ag property.

 

UNLAWFUL GATHERINGS & RIOTING - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, activist groups and individu­als have been known to use unlawful gather­ings and rioting to inhibit animal agriculture, food industry and other natural resource busi­nesses; and

WHEREAS, ranchers and other business owners have the right to conduct their lawful business without burdensome obstructions; and

         WHEREAS, state law defines a riot as “a public disturbance involving an assemblage of five or more persons, which, by tumultu­ous and violent conduct, creates grave danger of damage or injury to property or persons or substantially obstructs law enforcement or other government functions.”

          THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports efforts to strengthen legal protections against unlawful gatherings and riots to better protect business and landown­ers. 10

 

WILD & SCENIC RIVER DESIGNATION - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, certain groups are proposing the declaration of wild and scenic rivers; and

WHEREAS, the vast majority of this land is privately owned; and

WHEREAS, wild and scenic designations would curtail grazing and mineral develop­ment, stop range improvements, require relo­cation of homesteads and create a severe and depressing economic hardship on affected producers.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any such federal and/or state designation of any portion of a river or stream in the state of North Dakota.

 

WILDERNESS - 20 (AP)

WHEREAS, certain groups are now pro­posing wilderness designation on the National Grasslands in North Dakota; and

WHEREAS, this proposal will require ac­quisition of private and state lands, which are within the boundaries of these proposed “wil­derness” areas; and

WHEREAS, many thousands of acres of privately owned minerals underlie these lands, which may be legally explored and developed regardless of surface ownership; and

WHEREAS, being developed agricultural lands, which were once in private ownership, do not meet the conditions and criteria in the 1964 Wilderness Act, as well as not being a legal use under the Bankhead Jones Act; and

WHEREAS, present legal use of these lands would be severely curtailed to the detri­ment of the local and state economies if such wilderness designation was made.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA vigorously opposes wilderness desig­nation of any of the National Grasslands in North Dakota.

 

CAPITAL GAINS TAXES - 19 (AP)

WHEREAS, the impact of inflation has in­creased property values far beyond their tax base value, thus forcing retirement sellers to pay capital gains taxes on non-existent real income; and

WHEREAS, many cowherds have a zero tax basis, making the entire selling price sub­ject to capital gains tax; and

WHEREAS, capital gains taxes make it im­possible to equitably transfer properties from one generation to another.

        THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that a major reduction in capital gains should be one of the most important tax priorities for our Congressional delegation and for our federal tax lobbying efforts, both independently and through the National Cattlemen’s Beef Asso­ciation and other organizations.

 

ESTATE TAX - 19 (AP)

WHEREAS, estate taxes continue to be a burden for farmers and ranchers.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA and the National Cattlemen’s Beef As­sociation continue to work for the permanent elimination of estate taxes while retaining the stepped-up basis.

 

FSA FORECLOSURES - 19 (AP)

BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes transfer of title or easements to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Dakota Game and Fish Department or any other entity, except agricultural producers, as a result of Farm Service Agency or other lender foreclosures.

 

SURFACE OWNER PROTECTION & COMPENSATION - 19 (AP)

WHEREAS, oil and gas development in North Dakota has a detrimental impact on ag­riculture; and

WHEREAS, despite legislation, surface owners do not get adequate protection or fair compensation for mineral development when they do not own the minerals; and

WHEREAS, mineral owners’ rights super­sede surface owners’ rights; and

WHEREAS, compensation for surface damages often do not reflect the overall nega­tive impact to the surface property beyond the initial damage.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports legislation that would give surface owners property rights at least equal to those of mineral owners. 

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA supports a fair com­pensation plan for surface owners that better reflects the damage and disruption to the land and agricultural operation.

 

AGRICULTURAL ZONING - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, zoning ordinances can have a beneficial or detrimental effect on agricultural practices.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA urges all townships and/or counties to zone agricultural land for agricultural practic­es.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, agricultural practices on land zoned for agricultural use has priority.

 

ANIMAL RIGHTS - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, the animal rights movement’s efforts to end or restrict production animal ag­riculture uses the incremental elevation of the social status of animals to the same level as humans to accomplish this goal.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA will oppose any new law that grants animals protective status equal or higher than that afforded humans.

 

CAMP GRAFTON SOUTH - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, while the NDSA recognizes the need to properly train and equip the U.S. military, the NDSA is concerned with the pro­posed expansion of military training grounds; and

WHEREAS, the proposed expansion would take land now in private ownership and put it in the hands of the federal government; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA opposes govern­ment ownership of land and the use of emi­nent domain; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA is a firm believer in private property rights as a cornerstone for a free society.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA firmly opposes any expansion of Camp Grafton South.

 

CRP - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, CRP has had an impact on producers and communities; and

WHEREAS, proper management of CRP is critical.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA’s position concerning CRP is as fol­lows:

OPPOSE

1. The expansion of CRP in North Dakota.

2. Any attempts to make perpetual ease-ments a part of CRP.

3. Any added benefits for haying and graz-ing that would unfairly subsidize con-tract holders.

4. Whole-farm enrollment in CRP.

SUPPORT

1. The control of weeds and insects.

2. Targeting CRP to highly erodible land.

3. The following guidelines for haying and grazing due to disaster declaration:

a. Guidelines be established in advance so producers can respond accordingly or get the best quality forage possible.

b. Only livestock producers from eligible counties may hay CRP.

c. Non-eligible counties may

allow haying and grazing by pro-

ducers in eligible counties.

d. Uncut portions that must be left in blocks cannot exceed 25 percent.

e. Hay must be removed from CRP by Nov. 1.

 

DISPOSITION PROCEDURES FOR SEIZED ANIMALS - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, the NDSA has been a leader in private property rights and representing live­stock interests in legislative efforts pertaining to animal treatment; and

        WHEREAS, additional protection for live­stock producers could be achieved by specify­ing in statute the protections that are inherent in the North Dakota Constitution and the Civil Rules of Procedure regarding property rights as they pertain to the disposition of seized an­imals.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA work with the North Dakota Legisla­ture to fortify the protections for all livestock producers regarding the disposition of seized animals.12

 

EMERGENCY SERVICES - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, North Dakota relies on volun­teer fire and ambulance districts for emergen­cy services; and

WHEREAS, these services are poorly funded by local mill levies; and

WHEREAS, some counties in western North Dakota have been and are still being impacted by energy development and call vol­umes have increased dramatically; and

WHEREAS, oil wells pay no property tax, and all production and severance taxes are collected by the state and are not shared back to emergency services.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports legislation to reinstate the en­ergy impact grant funding and also supports legislation to distribute a portion of these pro­duction taxes back to the local fire and ambu­lance districts.

 

ENDANGERED SPECIES - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, the Endangered Species Act, as currently written and enforced, has the po­tential of restricting use on some North Dako­ta agricultural lands, both public and private, with devastating effects on social, cultural and economic values; and

WHEREAS, when endangered species populations reach established recovery levels, current delisting procedures are cumbersome.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA encourages the streamlining of the del­isting process;

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA urges Congress to amend the act to ensure reasonable criteria for the designation of an endangered species and to ensure protection of private property rights;

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA opposes the introduction of any endangered species from other areas into North Dakota.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA opposes any attempt by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department seeking authority to declare a species endan­gered.

 

FEDERAL LAND USE - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, the NDSA believes in the con­cept of multiple use on federal lands; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA believes that live­stock grazing is an integral part of the multi­ple-use concept; and

WHEREAS, the NDSA believes that live­stock producers are the original stewards of the land; and

WHEREAS, livestock producers are the only users to pay for forage use on federal lands.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a federal grazing fee formula that is fair and equitable with considerations for the value of livestock, the value of forage and the economic impact on local communi­ties.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA opposes the raising of federal grazing fees past the point of dimin­ishing returns.

 

FEDERAL LANDS LEGISLATION - 18 (AP)

BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the efforts of North Dakota federal land grazers to obtain Congressional legislation preserving their historic and legal right to use these lands.

 

FEDERAL TAX REFORM - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, the federal income tax code is complex and restrictive of economic growth.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a simpler and less restrictive tax code to replace the present tax code.

 

GRATIS LICENSES FOR FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESS STRUCTURES - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, the NDSA has standing policy supporting private property rights; and

WHEREAS, many family-owned farms and ranches are forming LLPs, LLCs and oth­er forms of partnerships; and

        WHEREAS, the North Dakota Legislature has established in North Dakota Century Code that all General Partnerships, LLPs, LLCs and other forms of partnerships are only allowed one gratis deer license per entity (partnership or corporation) per year. 

         THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA works to change the gratis license pro­vision of North Dakota Century Code to allow all partners of the legal entity that is owned and operated by direct family members to one gratis license per year per person per 150 acres of land.

 

LEGACY FUND - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, the state Legacy Fund, which receives 30 percent of state petroleum tax revenues, has a balance of more than $5.42 billion; and

        WHEREAS, a legislative proposal, which will be decided by the 2019 North Dakota Legislature, would use up to 15 percent of the Legacy Fund’s principal balance — now $780 million — to lend to cities, counties, water resource districts, rural water systems and air­port authorities for infrastructure projects; and

        WHEREAS, as proposed by lawmak­ers, loans to political subdivisions would be available at a rate of 1.56 percent for up to 50 years. The program would have a minimum loan amount of $10 million for new projects and $1 million on refinanced debt, which can comprise 20 percent of total capital; and

WHEREAS, most NDSA members are ru­ral or residents of small communities.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the proposal to loan funds to political subdivisions, with no minimum loan amount, and with all political subdivisions el­igible for the loans.

 

ONE CALL - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, Senate Bill 2167 directs Leg­islative Management to study the one-call ex­cavation notice system; and

WHEREAS, the notification center (current one-call center) that North Dakota uses is lo­cated out of state; and

WHEREAS, the current notification center will not accept legal land descriptions; and

WHEREAS, tangible marking materials are often not removed after excavation is complete and can cause injury to livestock or land users.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA urges a change to an in-state notifica­tion center.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA works to make changes through the Legislative Management study or legislative process to make the notification center acknowledge legal land descriptions.

         THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RE­SOLVED, the NDSA works through the Legislative Management study or legislative process to require the excavator to remove all tangible marking materials at the completion of excavation or face a fine to be established by the board as defined in 49-23-01 of the North Dakota Century Code.

 

WIND ENERGY OVERHANG EASEMENTS - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, wind easements include de­velopment overhang easements; and

WHEREAS, wind developers erect towers close to property lines and, consequently, tow­ers often overhang neighbors’ property; and

WHEREAS the overhang easements can cause private property impairments, such as an owner being fenced off his or her property.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports easements for only landown­ers’ property and opposes any provisions for overhang easements.

 

WIND ENERGY SETBACKS - 18 (AP)

WHEREAS, wind energy development in North Dakota is having an impact on agricul­ture, livestock and agricultural producers; and

WHEREAS, standard setbacks of 1,400 feet are inadequate for places of residence; and

WHEREAS, the state would also benefit from setbacks from livestock handling, work­ing and feeding facilities, even if no buildings exist at the locations.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports legislation to increase set­backs on wind tower locations and include places of residence and livestock handling, working and feeding facilities, but not to in­clude portable corral systems.



 

 

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