Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Monday, November 12, 2012
ND voters add farmer protection to constitution
Voters in heavily agriculture-dependent North Dakota became the first to enshrine the right to farm in their state constitution, a move that some say could have far-reaching effects on genetic modification, land use and the way animals are raised. The amendment approved Tuesday guarantees the right of farmers to engage in "modern" agriculture and bars any law limiting their right "to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices." Supporters said it was broadly worded to protect farmers far into the future. But critics complained it was too vague, and officials in North Dakota said this week that they aren't sure what the new right really means, how long it will take to define it or whether it would survive a court challenge. Another big question is whether other states will follow. "There's certainly a lot of interest in the states in protecting agriculture and agricultural practices," said Scott Hendrick, a program director with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "This takes a broader tack. I think some states will look at this." "It's going to give us a big leg up on special interest groups that come in from outside and want to tell us what to do and what not to do," said Doyle Johannes, president of the state Farm Bureau. "They're not going to stop. That was the big thing, to beat these people back. We don't need outsiders coming here and telling us how to do things." The amendment passed with two-thirds of the vote Tuesday, the same day voters in California rejected a measure calling for labeling on food products containing genetically modified ingredients. Farm groups also saw that proposal as an attack on agriculture because some of the nation's most important crops, such as corn, are mainly grown with genetically engineered seeds. Joe Maxwell, a vice president with the Humane Society, said he wouldn't be surprised if North Dakota's constitutional amendment sparked similar efforts in other states...more