A two-fold mission was played out this week in BisMan. One, was to attend portions of the International Legislators Forum (ILF) followed and capped by the Ag Coalition meeting. The ILF is made up of legislators from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Manitoba. It was founded more than twenty years ago with the intent of working on mutual water issues, especially the Red River Basin. Since then, the topics have expanded to include everything from transportation to human trafficking. NDSGA is a sponsor as it is a good opportunity to visit with lawmakers in a fairly relaxed setting about water, transportation and whatever other issues an organization may be working towards to meet goals in the Red River Basin. I did spend one evening and a morning listening and conversing with legislators to that end.
The four-hour long Ag Coalition meeting contained more specific information I am able to share with you. Over a dozen commodity groups were represented along with Farmer’s Union, Farm Credit Council (Farm Credit Services always hosts in their Mandan Building), Summit Carbon Solutions, our Congressional delegation via their North Dakota representatives about working on the 2023 Farm Bill, the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce and SBARE which presented as well.
Going around the table, the chair asked each commodity to introduce themselves and bring up any pertinent news. Here are a few excerpts:
- The ILF is trying to lengthen the finance period for irrigation equipment from seven to 15 years.
- I-Band and Stockmen’s Association both reported that the Federal government allowed payment of $474 for calves less than 250 lbs. lost in the back-to-back blizzards of April. Payments had been much lower initially, so they expressed their gratitude for the upgrade in compensation.
- Farm Credit Services stated that the Federal Reserve upped rates 150 basis points with another 150 coming soon on top of the beginning 3% makes 6%.
- The North Dakota Department of Agriculture reported that the Commissioner is focused on the EPA overstepping on WOTUS and other fronts which sparked a conversation on the importance of hosting EPA employees here in North Dakota.
- The North Dakota Department of Commerce gave a presentation highlighting some of the value-added projects such as the two soybean crush plants and a potential fertilizer plant in western North Dakota.
- Summit Carbon discussed how well our state is positioned to capitalize on carbon capture due to our unique geology.
After some other business, the Coalition adopted the priority list of SBARE recommendations in a unanimous vote and the meeting was adjourned.
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