North Dakota Farmers Union Looking to Join the Fight Against Corporate Farming

Published 10/21 2016 02:34PM

Updated 10/21 2016 05:43PM

North Dakota's Farmers Union want's to join the legal battle over the state's anti-corporate farming law.
They would go up against the state's Farm Bureau who is currently suing in federal court saying the law actually hurts the agriculture industry.
Ben Smith hears from a local producer about his personal fight against corporate farming.

Wayne Backman was relieved when heard the Farmers Union joined the fight against corporate farming in North Dakota.  

"I just think it's better for the community to have thousands of individual farmers than have large corporations," says Backman

The lifetime farmer helped rally support against changing state law earlier this year.  
It would have allowed certain dairy and swine operations to own land even if they weren't a family operation.  
It was voted down by about 75% of North Dakotans.  

"I'm just delighted that the people of North Dakota seem to support family farmers and for that I say thank you," he says

North Dakota's Farmers Union created the law to keep land in the hands of families.
Opponents say it hurts the agriculture industry by restricting tools available to farmers.
But the Union's legal council says it's vital for small farm operations.

"We have seen in other states that do allow non-family corporate farms.  There is more consolidation, there is less opportunity for family farmers to continue holding the land and farming,"

The law has been challenged many times since it started, even making it to the supreme court.
It's always been upheld.

"We have defended this law for 84 years, and we are just going to continue to defend it..because we think this is just so critical to our state's heritage and it's future," says Carlson

And if it was up to Backman, it wouldn't even be discussed.

"It's not partisan and I don't see it as city vs. town, I think people just support family farmers and you know, you kinda say if it ain't broke, don't fix it," says Backman

Carlson says there are eight other states with similar laws against corporate farming.
She says it's unknown if the Farmers Union will be allowed to intervene.

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