Murphy’s Law 2019 #43

August 16, 2019

Interim begins
It’s been about a month since I last wrote to you and there a couple of recent assignments I can briefly describe: First there was the Senator Hoeven fundraiser at Oxbow CC on Tuesday. Well attended even in the face of imminent rain, I was fortunate to be able to have two one-on-ones with the Senator. He looked at me on the 18th tee and said “Soybeans”. I responded with something in the nature of the tariffs being deleterious to the industry, especially for North Dakota producers. During the discussion he repeatedly stated that they are working on it every day and I thanked him for that. While we were out in the parking lot together packing up our clubs, I mentioned that regaining those markets would be nearly impossible and he was aware of Chinese investment in Brazilian export infrastructure by the time we parted. I am quite sure he had heard it all before, but hey, it’s a big deal.

Then on Wednesday the interim legislative session began for me in Bismarck by attending my old committee named Energy Development and Transmission. One of the topics of interest to farming was the discussion of how ND is reclaiming some soil spoiled by salt spills and leakage around what are called legacy (older, 1960s and ’70s types) wells. Using techniques developed by the Energy and Environmental Research Center at the Univeristy of North Dakota and North Dakota State University grassland specialists over the last 8 years or so, they may have come up with what may be an economically feasible plan. The committee will be looking at that later. Also of interest to landowners, they will be taking testimony on wind energy. About 40 percent of the electricity we produce is from wind (ranking 4th in the USA ) and we export 52 percent of all the electricity we generate in our state. The ND Transmission Authority testified and stated that they foresee the need to expand the grid’s ability to transmit about 71 percent more electrons within the next 20 years.

The Oil Patch is humming again. Oh, and at the beginning, the Chairman, Senator Wardner, asked me to inform the room about rumors that there may be new life for a soybean crush plant in Spiritwood after the last attempt had failed. Because the rumored corporation showing interest in building one has kept the clamps on information, I immediately quipped something like “I have never heard of such a thing”. The room cracked up, but my comment was closer to the truth than not. An attorney for a power company evidently working on the project ate lunch with me and said that it was the perfect response. So I got that going for me… The Agriculture Committee has yet to meet and I will keep you informed once they do.