July 19, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #9
There is much more clarity when it comes to waste water/septic systems following recent hearings in Bismarck. Installers and regulators testified as well as counties. Everyone seems to want the state to set standards for how these systems are designed and installed and to license installers. Handling it would be the new split from the Health Dept. now titled Dept. of...
July 17, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #8
The ND Interim Legislative Commerce Committee met for the last time yesterday and covered several topics relevant to rural North Dakota and the Agricultural community. It was striking how much impact COVID-1919 has had on many of them – some positive, some negative. To begin, the ND University System testified to the progress of the ND Career Builders and Skilled Workforce...
June 3, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #7
EERC Synergies and Ethanol
Each year the Interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee visits the Grand Forks-based Energy and Environmental Research Center. This June it was virtual and our legislators were presented with some program updates. I listened in to see what might concern agriculture and there was plenty. One headache for farmers in the northern tier of counties is that there are...
May 16, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #6
Natural Resources Interim – Posting
All Interim committees for our North Dakota Legislature have gone to meetings via phone, internet, etc. Not many have convened given the complexity and newness of the challenges bestowed upon us by the novel Coronavirus. While the Budget Section has met to vote on allowing (mostly) state agencies to spend money sent to us by the Federal government, monies directly given to...
March 13, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #5
Soil Cons. Districts and Ag Coalition
There have not been many assignments in February or March, but on the 12th I covered the very first Agricultural Conservation and Stewardship Roundtable followed by the Ag Coalition meeting in the ND Heritage Center. The first meeting was an attempt by the ND State Soil Conservation Districts to engage the representatives of commodity groups (the Ag Coalition) so as to not...
January 27, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #4
The recently formed Transportation Coalition met late last week and welcomed North Dakota’s new Department of Transportation Director, Bill Panos. He came from a similar position in Wyoming before our Governor tagged him a few months ago. Like most in the meeting, I had not heard him speak and shared the group’s unofficial opinion that his enthusiasm and background...
January 23, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #3
The Natural Resources Legislative Interim committee met again to discuss how to get the pilot program for testing out an app regarding posting lands for hunting up and running. The three counties have volunteered and been chosen for their geographical locations as well as their diversification in terms of how developed their GIS systems are. GIS stands for Geographical...
January 18, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #2
Rural groceries and Septic systems
Back in December, the North Dakota Soybean Growers Association board was briefed on efforts by the Interim Legislative committee known as Commerce in regards to the drastically shrinking numbers of rural North Dakota grocery stores. This week the Commerce committee met to further discuss and search for solutions. Testifiers spoke of reasons for the decline which includes...
January 17, 2020
Murphy’s Law Blog 2020 | #1Livestock
Earlier this week when it was only 40 degrees below freezing I was sent to cover the 2nd Annual North Dakota Livestock Association Summit at Black Leg Ranch south of McKenzie. It was a pretty big deal featuring panels, radio stations, sponsors, food and even a comedian to wrap up the day. The soybean industry was thanked by speakers numerous times, most often about the...
December 14, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #51
Last of the Year
December 12th saw the latest Agriculture and Transportation Interim Legislative Committee meeting. The needle did not move on the issue of using the Sec. of State’s Central Indexing system to show any other loans procured by a producer after getting the primary or original loan to put their crop in. Nor did much happen on the Road Train study although there was testimony...
November 17, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #50
To catch you up on a few different items of the last month: The Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee met a couple weeks ago with the Soybean Council one of 30 or so entities whose turn had come. Their part went well, but the committee heard from the Commerce Department folks who had been subjected to treatment from the State Auditor that they considered...
October 23, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #49
Wind Power Transmission
EDTC (Energy Development and Transmission Committee) met on Wednesday to discuss the North Dakota transmission grid status. A testifier from NextEra (which is the world’s largest utility by market capitalization) and other wind energy officials to follow stated that the outflow of electrons from North Dakota is basically maxed out. This makes sense given that we are such a...
October 22, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #48
Natural Resources and a Thank You
Wearing my NDSGA shirt, I was able to personally thank both the Governor and Agriculture Commissioner for their Monday trip around North Dakota to view the watery situation we are facing. The Governor told me that there are a lot of people in need and one could tell he was impacted by the tour. The Agriculture Commissioner could not get over all the water he could see from...
October 4, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #47
Ag and Trans
This week the Interim Agriculture & Transportation Committee met for the first time. They took up transportation issues first and discussed electronic vehicles and charging stations (minimal in North Dakota on both counts), then the Road Train study. Senator Larry Luick has been the driver on road trains as he knows that we have a 900,000 CDL shortage in the USA and our...
October 3, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #46
Tax and Tech
Taxation is a committee that deals with the topic everyone is interested in at least once a year if not every day, so NDSGA likes to keep at least an occasional eye on them. Saying hello to each of the members takes time because it is larger than your average interim committee – 18 regulars. In addition there were a few members from Legislative Management present as well...
September 16, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #45
Knowing what other folks think can come in handy when advocating for or against policy. The Greater ND Chamber hosted their Policy Summit Agenda last week, highlighting Trade and Tariffs, The Gas Tax and our ND Income Tax. Starting with trade and tariffs in the morning, the panelists were from WCCO Belting which supplies most ag manufacturers, Killdeer Mountain...
August 28, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #44
Natural Resources Interim
This week saw a study begin yet again on an “old friend” of the ND Legislature – the hunting trespass issue. As Chairman Erbele noted, it has been called the automatic posting bill, the trespass bill and several other names. While there was one session when it was not presented, virtually every session in memory has seen this issue pop up. NDSGA and most, if not all other...
August 16, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #43
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...
July 17, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #42
One point about you and your business after reflecting on last week’s See For Yourself program to the Pacific Northwest is a new appreciation for the thousands of people who count on commodities flowing across the country and heading out to sea. My lack of true understanding about who these people are and the challenges they face had allowed me to undervalue or take those...
July 12, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #41
This is the last day of the See For Yourself program in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) and after spending yesterday touring loading facilities along the Columbia River, we started this one with another essential transportation partner, BNSF Railway. Their traffic is down substantially due to the tariffs and much like executives of shipping, BNSF had a slide titled Lost...
July 11, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #40
Wednesday, the See For Yourself group started out in Portland, Oregon with a presentation from Doug Whitehead who advocates for biodiesel at the national level. He has been involved for more than 20 years and shared some victories along with current problems. It boils down to certainty for investors: Will the renewable fuel standards last? Will tax incentives last? He...
July 9, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #39
Out here in Portland, Oregon with the ND Soybean Council to visit the Pacific Northwest systems which normally would be shipping your North Dakota soybeans to the Far East, mostly China. Today the dozen growers who applied for this See For Yourself program got up and to the Fargo airport at 5:30 (12 of 13 made it on time!), flew 250 miles the wrong way, re-boarded the same...
July 8, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #38
Today we begin to leave for Portland, Oregon for the “See for Yourself” tour of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) soybean exporting facilities put on by the ND Soybean Council (NDSC) that we all see each year in the Soybean Grower Magazine. By begin to leave, I mean that the group of a dozen or so travelers meet today (Monday) at NDSC HQ in Fargo for a briefing/orientation thing....
June 19, 2019
Murphy’s Law Blog 2019 | #37
Hello once again, producers and others interested! I took some time after the session to recover while you dealt with an often tortuous planting season and now while you look for opportunities to spray, I rejoin you via blog to relay the core of whatever assignment comes my way. Monday and Tuesday found me in Sioux Falls as it was South Dakota’s turn to host the...
May 7, 2019
Five Take-a-ways from the 2019 ND Legislative Session
#1 The urban – rural divide can be bridged. The surprising success of the farm home exemption bill showed us that. Only a few were against it in the Senate and it garnered over 70 yeas in the House. To me, it was a favorable vote from our urban brothers and sisters that bodes well for agriculture. There are fewer and fewer strictly rural districts in our state with that...
May 5, 2019
Livestock Benefits Overview