Thursday, October 13, 2016

ND ranchers fed up with pipeline protesters

North Dakota's Agriculture Department has set up a hotline to try to help farmers and ranchers south of Bismarck-Mandan affected by protests against the Dakota Access pipeline.Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says many producers need to finish seasonal work before winter sets in, and they're having problems trying to find willing truck drivers and custom silage-chopping services. Protesters say their activities are peaceful, but some producers in the area say they've been harassed. Goehring says the free hotline is aimed at helping producers and those looking for work to connect with one another. The Farm/Ranch Emergency Assistance Hotline number is 701-425-8454. Doug Hille ranches about six thousand acres north of Flasher in Morton County. The Dakota Access Pipeline cuts across much of the land Doug Hille counts on to provide grazing and water for his hundreds of head of cattle. KXMC reports he's said he’s pretty much fed up with the delays in the project caused by the protests. "It does nothing but cost us money and make life miserable for us," said Hille. There are no protesters on his land - but he says the work shutdowns caused by the protests have cost him plenty. "I've gone past $20,000 so fast it's making my head spin." That's in things like having to move calves and cattle closer to his home earlier than usual, being unable to move equipment in to finish chopping this corn field to provide feed, making arrangements to get water to cattle, and over grazing of some land because cattle are trapped in one area. "And it'll hurt us through most of next year." Add to that strangers snapping photos of him and his family, people shaking fists at him as they drive by, and he says it's gotten uncomfortable to live his life. But don't think he's only angered with the protesters. "I by no stretch of the imagination support the Dakota Access Pipeline company. They treated the landowners and the tenants up here like crap and I rank those people no higher than the protesters themselves,” said Hille. “On the flipside, the actual people building the pipeline are second to none I've ever worked with."...more

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