Tag Archives: Farming

The fall season is a time for friends and families to reconnect with one another, usually around a holiday meal where discussions and even friendly debates are part of the occasion. According to a recent survey from Undeniably Dairy, a campaign by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, three-quarters of Americans would be more open to someone’s point of view after sharing a meal, reinforcing the idea that most Americans believe in the connecting powers of food.

The survey also found, seven out of 10 Americans think it’s important to know the farmers who produce the food they eat and even more surprisingly, more than half of Americans are interested in moving to a farm.

“The reality is, while people want to know where their food comes from and are even interested in moving back to the farm, they’re still generations removed from what really happens there,” said Beth Engelmann, chief marketing communications officer supporting the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “That’s why this fall, through the Undeniably Dairy campaign, we’re not only focusing on encouraging consumers to reconnect with their families and friends, but also with the dairy community behind the nutritious and delicious foods people know and love like farmers, processors, chefs and everyone in-between.”

In celebration of National Farmer’s Day (October 12) and throughout the holiday season, Americans will have the opportunity to connect with the people and stories behind their favorite dairy foods through live experiences and chart-ranking podcasts. In fact:

  • New York City locals will have the opportunity to talk with farmers from across the country about their innovative and environmentally conscious practices over grilled cheese and chocolate milk, when the Undeniably Dairy food truck pops up at food festivals in New York the week of National Farmers Day.
  • People will be able to hear more from farmers, food entrepreneurs and others throughout the dairy community on podcasts including The Sporkful, Nutrition Diva and Spilled Milk.

Additionally, pop-culture icon Mario Lopez will be sharing his tips on how to make the most of mealtimes during the season with busy families and reconnect with the hard-working dairy families that provides the food that fuels them.

To learn more about the Undeniably Dairy campaign and connect with the real people behind dairy, visit UndeniablyDairy.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter or YouTube.

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® is a forum that brings together the dairy community to address the changing needs and expectations of consumers through a framework of shared best practices and accountability. Initiated in 2008 by dairy farmers through the dairy checkoff, we collaborate on efforts that are important both to us and our valued customers – issues like animal care, food safety, nutrition and health, the environment and economics. The Innovation Center is committed to continuous improvement from farm to table, striving to ensure a socially responsible and economically viable dairy community.

North Dakota’s two largest farm groups have been on opposite sides of a two-year legal battle over the state’s Depression-era anti-corporate farming law, but both are finding at least partial victory in a judge’s decision to uphold the law but order changes in how it’s applied.

Meanwhile, state officials who enforce the law say the ruling won’t change the status quo because they’re already doing what the judge ordered. Some existing farm operations confirm that.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland on Sept. 21 upheld the law that state voters approved in 1932 to protect the state’s family farming heritage by barring corporations from owning or operating farms. However, he also said a change made by state lawmakers in 1981 to allow exceptions for small “domestic” family farm corporations — primarily as a tax- and estate-planning tool — violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution if it is applied only to in-state operations.

“The court finds that such a requirement would clearly discriminate against out-of-state interests,” Hovland wrote in ordering North Dakota to extend the exception beyond state borders.

Challenging states’ corporate farming laws by arguing they violate interstate commerce became a popular choice for opponents after the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 ruled that South Dakota’s law violated the Commerce Clause, according to the National Agricultural Law Center.

North Dakota Farm Bureau and others sued in 2016 to do away with North Dakota’s law, making the interstate commerce claim and also arguing the law limits farmers’ business options. North Dakota Farmers Union helped the state defend the law.

Hovland refused to strike it down but did rule that the state must “permit corporations and limited liability companies organized under the laws of other states to utilize the family farm exception” — as long as they meet all of the law’s requirements. Those include that family corporations involve no more than 15 people who all have certain degrees of kinship.

Farm Bureau applauded that part of the ruling.

“This removes the (state’s) ability to discriminate on that non-resident family to engage (in farming) here, President Daryl Lies said.

State officials hailed Hovland’s upholding of the law as a victory. They also said that his order on the family farm exception doesn’t change anything because it “is consistent with the way the Office of Attorney General and the Office of the Secretary of State have historically interpreted and implemented” the law.

Trish Buxbaum of Fairview, Montana, said she and her husband, Brian, had no problems getting permission from the North Dakota Secretary of State’s office for B n’ T Farms, which is incorporated in Montana and operates in North Dakota.

“We have a good working relationship with them,” she said.

Edwin Jonas III, who with his wife, Connie, operates Nevada-incorporated Red River Valley Ranch Co. in North Dakota, said the same. The former Montanan also believes North Dakota is fixated too much on a perceived threat from large companies.

“I don’t think they should worry about out-of-state corporations,” he said. “They should be more worried about farmers who buy up all the land they can.”

Statistics from the most recent federal Census of Agriculture show that farms in North Dakota have become fewer and larger. The number of farms with annual sales of less than $100,000 dropped by about 22 percent over a 15-year period from 1997 to 2012, while farms with sales greater than $100,000 increased 44 percent.

Farmers Union, which has supported the law for nearly a century and applauded Hovland’s decision to uphold it, believes that small family farms are still viable and still worth protecting even if larger operations are more economical.

“It’s not so much of a size thing as it is someone a little more tied to the land, having ownership of the land, wanting to keep that stewardship going,” President Mark Watne said. “I think we have the model. I think it works. Obviously we’ve got to have sustainable prices, which is always a challenge. But when it comes down to it, I really don’t see where a corporate structure is any more efficient than what we have.”

The farm group that challenged North Dakota’s Depression-era anti-corporate farming law says a federal judge’s recent decision not to strike down the law is at least a partial victory.

North Dakota Farm Bureau and others sued in 2016 to do away with the law that voters approved in 1932 to protect the state’s family farming heritage. Plaintiffs argued the law limits farmers’ business options and interferes with interstate commerce.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland allowed the law to stand but also said the state must extend an exception allowing small family farm corporations to corporations organized outside the state. Farm Bureau applauded that part of the ruling.

The group is consulting with attorneys before determining whether to appeal Hovland’s decision not to strike down the entire law.

Some New Mexico ranchers are worried they could lose their way of life as the U.S. Bureau of Land Management revises its resource management plan.

Land could be subject to classification as wilderness, a move that ranchers worry could restrict their land from commercial uses such as farming or ranching, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported .

The Bureau of Land Management hosted a public meeting last week in Hope, New Mexico, to solicit feedback from the public on the resource management plan’s revision. The resource management plan when finalized directs the bureau’s Pecos District’s management of federal lands in the region, which contains Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties.

In total, the resource management plan would affect nearly 3,300 square miles (about 8,600 square kilometers) of federally managed areas, considering the needs of numerous industries, while balancing the need to conserve resources and wildlife.

The Hope community of about 100 residents posed concerns unique to the area because of its reliance on the ranching industry. While attendees at a similar meeting in Carlsbad flocked to booths pertaining to mineral extraction, Hope residents stuck to wilderness classifications and the effect on grazelands.

Jim Stovall, the Bureau of Land Management’s Pecos District Manager, said it was important to hear a variety of responses, from the oilfields to the ranches.

“This is part of the field office where we don’t have a lot of mineral activity,” he said. “But they’re a good community. It’s important for us to come out here and hear their concerns.”

The current drafted resource management plan contains five alternatives, including a no action option that would leave the 1988 version of the plan in place. The current plan was first published in 1988

Alternative A focuses on watershed management and restoration, prioritizing that first before other uses and needs.

Alternative B would geographically separate conservation uses such as wilderness classifications, from industrial uses such as extraction or ranching.

Alternative C was identified by the bureau as its preferred alternative, opting for a multi-use methodology to balance all uses on federal land.

Alternative D would prioritize mineral development and extraction over all others, valuing economic growth ahead of conservation and recreational uses.

Bureau spokesman Ty Allen said the preferred option is most similar to what the bureau is already doing.