AG POLICY COMMITTEE
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:
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.
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.