AG POLICY COMMITTEE
Lowell Malard, Chairman
Jared Higgins, Vice Chairman
23-Resolution passed in 2023
22-Resolution passed in 2022
21-Resolution passed in 2021
AG LABOR - 23 (AP)
WHEREAS, agricultural operation sizes have grown to encompass more acres and animal units; and
WHEREAS, 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 - 23 (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 - 23 (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 - 23 (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 - 23 (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 - 23 (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 - 23 (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 - 23 (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 INDEMNITY PROGRAM NORMAL MORTALITY RATES - 23 (AP)
WHEREAS, the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is a disaster program that compensates producers for eligible death losses of livestock; and
WHEREAS, consideration is being made to include losses caused by federally protected predators without normal mortality rate deductions; and
WHEREAS, qualifying weather events can cause significant death loss to livestock, but normal mortality rates are deducted from LIP compensation in these instances.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA works to create equity in the LIP by adjusting the normal mortality rate requirements for all qualifying LIP benefits.
LIVESTOCK PROTECTION - 23 (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.
NATIONAL GRASSLANDS MANAGEMENT PLAN - 23 (AP)
WHEREAS, the 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 reductions in allotted animal units.
THEREFORE BE IT 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 reductions in allotted animal units.
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.
PERPETUAL EASEMENTS - 23 (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.
PROPERTY RIGHTS PROTECTION IN WILDLIFE SITUATIONS - 23 (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 - 23 (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 state law, which calls for an open public auction in the applicable county seats; and
WHEREAS, changes to the surface leasing auctions previously authorized through executive order impaired the openness and transparency of the auctions and created confusion.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA recommends any changes to state school land leasing auctions be approved by the North Dakota Land Board.
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 - 23 (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 private property.
UNLAWFUL GATHERINGS & RIOTING - 23 (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.
WILD & SCENIC RIVER DESIGNATION - 23 (AP)
WHEREAS, over the years, groups have proposed the declaration of wild and scenic rivers; and
WHEREAS, the 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 severe economic hardship for 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 - 23 (AP)
WHEREAS, certain groups have proposed wilderness designation on the National Grasslands in North Dakota; and
WHEREAS, these proposals would require acquisition of private and state lands, which are within the boundaries of the proposed “wilderness” areas; and
WHEREAS, many thousands of acres of privately owned minerals underlie these lands and may be legally explored and developed regardless of surface ownership; and
WHEREAS, as developed agricultural lands, which were once in private ownership, these lands do not meet the conditions and criteria in the 1964 Wilderness Act, and this is not a legal use under the Bankhead Jones Act; and
WHEREAS, the present legal use of these lands would be severely curtailed to the detriment of the local and state economies if such a 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 - 22 (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, 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 - 22 (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 - 22 (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 - 22 (AP)
WHEREAS, oil and gas development in North Dakota can have a detrimental impact on agriculture; and
WHEREAS, despite legislation, surface owners often 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 does 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.
LIVESTOCK INDEMNITY PROGRAM - 22 (AP)
WHEREAS, the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) is an important disaster program to many livestock producers experiencing animal losses following a natural disaster; and
WHEREAS, the value used for LIP compensation should represent animals’ fair market value; and
WHEREAS, coverage for subsequent diseases, such as pneumonia or scours, that are direct results of adverse weather conditions through LIP is unclear and often results in legitimate adverse weather-induced losses being rendered ineligible for payment; and
WHEREAS, possible adjustments to LIP are currently being discussed by the Administration and soon will be through Congress through the Farm Bill negotiations.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA continues to work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency and Congress to assure that LIP reflects the fair market value of animals and takes into account deaths caused by legitimate weather-induced subsequent diseases.
TERM LIMITS - 22 (AP)
WHEREAS, North Dakota has a citizen-based, biennial legislature serving 80 days every other year; and
WHEREAS, the current term in the state legislature is four years, after which time voters have the freedom to decide if legislators deserve another term; and
WHEREAS, rural, agriculture-based legislators are already becoming a minority due to districts becoming more urban-centered and farmers and ranchers not having time to serve; and
WHEREAS, legislative term limits can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and shift more power to bureaucrats and lobbyists.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any new law granting term limits on the state legislature.
AGRICULTURAL ZONING - 21 (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 have priority.
ANIMAL RIGHTS - 21 (AP)
WHEREAS, the animal rights movement’s efforts to end or restrict production animal agriculture use 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.
CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM - 21 (AP)
WHEREAS, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) has impacted producers and communities; and
WHEREAS, proper management of CRP has a substantial influence on the agricultural industry and state.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the expansion of CRP in North Dakota, any attempts to make perpetual easements a part of the program, added benefits that would unfairly subsidize contract-holders and whole-farm enrollment in CRP.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA supports weed and insect control on CRP lands and targeting the program to highly erodible land.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, for disaster situations, the NDSA supports haying and grazing guidelines be established in advance so producers know the rules and can make the best and most timely decisions as possible; allowing only livestock producers from eligible counties to hay or graze CRP in either eligible counties or non-eligible counties; restricting uncut-block restrictions to no more than 25 percent; allowing CRP hay to be removed through Nov. 1 and grazing to be continued through Dec. 15; and allowing emergency haying of all CRP practices during the primary nesting season when a county is designated as D3 drought for at least four consecutive weeks or one week of D4, a county is covered by a presidential or secretarial disaster declaration, or the secretary of agriculture, in coordination with the State Technical Committee, determines emergency haying can help in response to a natural disaster without permanent damage to the cover.
DISPOSITION PROCEDURES FOR SEIZED ANIMALS - 21 (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 works with the North Dakota Legislature to fortify the protections for all livestock producers regarding the disposition of seized animals.
EMERGENCY SERVICES - 21 (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 - 21 (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 - 21 (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 - 21 (AP)
THEREFORE 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 - 21 (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 - 21 (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.
IMMIGRATION REFORM - 21 (AP)
WHEREAS, the beef sector is an important industry in North Dakota and relies heavily on a dependable labor force; and
WHEREAS, North Dakota cattle producers need options to hire a dependable workforce that is reliable to the beef supply chain of North Dakota; and
WHEREAS, current immigration laws are outdated, fail the test of common sense and fail to provide workable infrastructure to support the future of North Dakota businesses, communities and families; and
WHEREAS, public awareness of the importance of immigrant labor to cattle producers, the beef industry and communities is lacking.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports immigration reform that:
1) Creates a non-seasonal, guest worker program that would be housed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
2) Creates a skilled agriculture worker preference category for visas.
3) Allows livestock operations, processing plants and auction markets to employ H2A visa holders 12 months.
4) Establishes means of securing the borders.
5) Grants permanent legal status for current working immigrants without a felony criminal record who have a sponsor who will support them financially and emotionally through the process to a path to citizenship that takes five years or less.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA supports educational and informational campaigns to increase public awareness and understanding of immigration issues as they impact the beef industry in our state.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA encourages our state and federal elected officials to bring forward legislation to include the above parameters.
PROTECT NORTH DAKOTA’S CONSTITUTION - 21 (AP)
WHEREAS, the current law in North Dakota allows a change to the State Constitution by a simple majority, which is the same threshold as for a statutory measure; and
WHEREAS, the North Dakota Constitution has faced a proposed amendment by initiated measure in every election cycle over the past decade, many of which covered several issues and were confusing to the public; and
WHEREAS, many of these measures were funded by millions of dollars of out-of-state funding and minimal in-state funding; and
WHEREAS, some of the measures target agriculture, making North Dakota an easy target for extremist groups to promote their agendas.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the initiative to require Constitutional measures in North Dakota to clearly address a single issue and receive at least 60 percent of the vote in the election.
WIND ENERGY DEVELOPMENT - 21 (AP)
WHEREAS, wind energy is a part of North Dakota’s energy infrastructure and wind energy development continues within the state; and
WHEREAS, rural agricultural property is an essential component to wind energy development; and
WHEREAS, historical NDSA policy has not attempted to direct zoning and placement of energy or communication infrastructure. Examples include oil and gas wells, electrical transmission lines and sub-stations, pipelines and communication towers; and
WHEREAS, the NDSA has standing policy positions regarding land-use planning and private property rights.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the private property rights of landowners who desire, or choose not, to participate in wind energy development.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA advocates for zoning and placement of wind energy development to be done by the local political subdivision and landowner.