Well, policy bills are slowing down in committees – almost done. Now Appropriations committees make their recommendations to the floor. The House is really piled up as they have debated social issues at length, keeping their Calendar for floor action pretty full. With a couple hundred bills more to act on than the Senate (they have twice as many members) they do seem to be killing a lot which might equalize counts during the second period of the session. HB1431 holds $70 million for the Highway Trust Fund, $50 million for the Ag Products Development Center/Northern Crops Institute and hundreds of millions for water projects. We have been actively seeking support, so mention that to your legislators when contacting them, please. It could make the floor this week, or not.
On Tuesday afternoon, we were invited to participate in a Zoom meeting with several interested legislators while hydrogen and ammonia were discussed by some scientists, Dr. David Ripplinger of NDSU and Brian LaPlante of 4H2. David is an economist and agribusiness man who works also in Environmental Social Science and with farmers. They spoke of the future of North Dakota as a powerhouse in what they consider to be the next big thing in energy which is hydrogen and ammonia creating electricity as large vehicles move to electric power. Stating that corn (ethanol) and soybeans are potentially huge players in creating electricity, they began to explain. The wide-ranging discussion touched on using existing transmission to move ammonia, mini-grids, an NDSU project using soybeans to create ammonia, putting together a hydrogen task force and other topics. Getting an interim study to start North Dakota down the path to assert itself as the powerhouse using this technology was also discussed. I was pretty much nerded out and got lost in the science rather quickly, but it holds much potential for our growers and state. HB1026, the grain inspection overhaul that passed the House, is being heard again in Senate Ag this week.