Thursday, June 16, 2016

North Dakota vote on corporate farming ban

Julie Bosman reported in the New York Times last week on a referendum which, if passed, would loosen North Dakota's decades-old ban on corporate farming.  On Tuesday, North Dakota voters rejected that law, which dates to the Great Depression. 

Here is an excerpt from Bosman's earlier report on the significance of the proposed law:
While the debate is very much focused on maintaining the character of North Dakota, it also taps into widespread fears about the disappearance of family farms throughout the United States and the spread of big corporations and their farming methods into rural America. 
People like the Wagners who support the earlier law — one of the strictest in the country — say that it protects the environment and family farmers like them. 
“With corporate farming, they just don’t have the connections,” said Laurie Wagner, whose husband’s grandparents started the farm in the 1930s, as she walked around the property on Thursday. “They could buy up all the land, and it means nothing to them. They could make it impossible for people like us to compete.”

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