AG POLICY & ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES COMMITTEE
13-Resolution passed in 2013
12-Resolution passed in 2012
11-Resolution passed in 2011
CLEAN WATER, WILDLIFE & PARKS INITIATIVE - 13 (AP)
WHEREAS, petitions for the Clean Water, Wildlife & Parks Initiative are currently being circulated; and
WHEREAS, this initiative will create an estimated $100 million fund per year requiring at least 75 percent be spent annually, regardless of the quality or need for the projects; and
WHEREAS, this fund will primarily be used to compete against agricultural producers to buy land and remove it from production; and
WHEREAS, this program will not have legislative oversight and will take funds from other important and necessary state-supported projects important to all citizens.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA encourages its membership and others not to sign the petitions and to oppose the initiated measure.
PRIVATE PROPERTY SURVEILLANCE IN NORTH DAKOTA - 13 (AP)
WHEREAS, technology is advancing at a rapid pace and cameras and unmanned aircraft known as drones are being used to gather information for military, law enforcement, private parties and other agencies; and
WHEREAS, some parties are known to be unfriendly to agriculture and/or energy development; and
WHEREAS, cameras can obtain images without the consent of the property operator; and
WHEREAS, unmanned aircraft do not need to file a flight plan if flying under 300 feet; and
WHEREAS, unmanned aircraft fly over private property without written permission of the property's operator.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports legislation requiring that all non-law-enforcement or non-military unmanned aircraft, motor vehicle, helicopter, airplane or camera operators need written permission from the property operator or be considered trespassers and subject to fines and civil penalties if they can show that the images were collected and distributed with malice.
WILDLIFE DEPREDATION - 13 (AP)
BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA work with the North Dakota Game & Fish Department and all other wildlife agencies to resolve excessive problems of depredation when appropriate.
AGRICULTURAL ZONING - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, zoning ordinances can have a beneficial or detrimental effect on agricultural practices.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA urges all townships and/or counties to zone agricultural land for agricultural practices.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, agricultural practices on land zoned for agricultural use has priority.
CLEAN AIR - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, the NDSA believes air quality is essential to the health and well-being of the nation; and
WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency rule that addresses the National Air Quality Standard is not based on credible scientific evidence that particulate matter emissions cause adverse health effects; and
WHEREAS, these standards will be impossible and cost-prohibitive for agriculture to comply with.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a legislative effort or companion rules that would give agriculture an exclusion from the coarse particulate matter standards.
CLEAN WATER RESTORATION ACT - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, pending Clean Water Restoration Act legislation does not address the water stewardship of the ranching industry or the desirability of local and state control; and
WHEREAS, the removal of the word "navigable" from the definition of "waters of the United States" would allow the federal government to override state and local jurisdiction over land and water management.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any change to the definition of the "waters of the United States" in reference to the Clean Water Act of 1972.
CLIMATE CHANGE - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, cattle producers are ardent stewards of all natural resources including land, livestock, water and air; and
WHEREAS, agriculture makes positive contributions to the environment; and
WHEREAS, pending climate change legislation would put the United States at a large trade disadvantage in comparison to other countries; and
WHEREAS, the pending legislation would result in large energy cost increases, particularly for those in agriculture.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA works to reduce or eliminate efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, related climate change legislation or promulgated rules.
CRP - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, CRP has had an impact on producers and communities; and
WHEREAS, proper management of CRP is critical.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA’s position concerning CRP is as follows:
1. The expansion of CRP in North Dakota.
2. Any attempts to make perpetual easements a part of CRP.
3. Any added benefits for haying and grazing that would unfairly subsidize contract holders.
4. Whole-farm enrollment in CRP.
1. The control of weeds and insects.
2. Targeting CRP to highly erodible land.
3. The following guidelines for haying and grazing due to disaster declaration:
a. Guidelines be established in advance so producers can respond accordingly or get the best quality forage possible.
b. Only livestock producers from eligible counties may hay CRP.
c. Non-eligible counties may allow haying and grazing by producers in eligible counties.
d. Uncut portions that must be left in blocks cannot exceed 25 percent.
e. Hay must be removed from CRP by Nov. 1.
FEDERAL TAX - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, the Federal Income Tax code is complex and restrictive of economic growth; and
WHEREAS, the NDSA supports the tax principles that taxes ought to be related to benefits received, ought to modify economic activity as little as possible and must not exceed the ability to pay.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the concept of evaluating a transaction, consumption or flat tax to replace the present tax code.
ENDANGERED SPECIES - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, the Endangered Species Act, as currently written and enforced, has the potential for restricting use on some North Dakota agricultural lands, both public and private, with devastating effects on social, cultural and economic values; and
WHEREAS, when endangered species populations reach established recovery levels, current delisting procedures are cumbersome.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA encourages the streamlining of the delisting process.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA urges Congress to amend the act to ensure reasonable criteria for designation of an endangered species and to insure protection of private property rights.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the introduction of any endangered species from other areas into North Dakota.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any attempt by the North Dakota Game & Fish Department seeking authority to declare a species endangered.
FEDERAL LAND USE - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, the NDSA believes in the concept of multiple-use on federal lands; and
WHEREAS, the NDSA believes that livestock grazing is an integral part of the multiple-use concept; and
WHEREAS, the NDSA believes that livestock producers are the original stewards of the land; and
WHEREAS, livestock producers are the only users to pay for forage use on federal lands.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a federal grazing fee formula that is fair and equitable with considerations for the value of livestock, the value of forage and the economic impact on local communities.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the raising of federal grazing fees past the point of diminishing returns.
FEDERAL LANDS LEGISLATION - 12 (AP)
BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the efforts of North Dakota federal land grazers to obtain Congressional legislation preserving their historic and legal right to use these lands.
MILL LEVY CAP – 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, the NDSA regrets that the legislature allowed combining various county mill levies, which resulted in increasing total mills allowed; and
WHEREAS, the NDSA has always affirmed that mill levies should be capped.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA reaffirms its support for mill levy limitations and opposes increases above present caps without a vote of the people.
NOXIOUS WEEDS - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, cattlemen recognize the need for government cutbacks in spending and that priorities need to be determined.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA feels that noxious weed control is a high priority and that these programs should be fully funded.
POWER FENCING – 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, North Dakota Century Code 47-26-01 (definition of legal fence) does not address the advancements in fencing technology, specifically power fencing; and
WHEREAS, the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service of North Dakota has guidelines for power fence in the North Dakota Conservation Job Sheet 23, located in the Field Office Technical Guide - Section IV- Conservation Practice - Fence - 382.
THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, The NDSA pursues through the legislature additions to North Dakota Century Code 47-26-01 to make one-, two- and three-wire power fence defined as legal fence, using the North Dakota Conservation Job Sheet 23 as a guide.
STATE WATER RIGHTS - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, the federal government, through the Reed Amendment in 1993, attempted to override North Dakota state water laws, as well as that of several other western states.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA urges our Congressional delegation and governor to vigorously oppose any future attempts by the federal government to diminish North Dakota's right to allocate state water rights.
WATER APPROPRIATION - 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, recreational needs are growing at a rapid pace, creating more demand on the waters of the state; and
WHEREAS, this increased pressure on water resources may lead to attempts to change the priority ranking for water allocation.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any attempt to diminish agriculture’s and livestock’s priority ranking for the waters of the state under the jurisdiction of the State Water Commission.
UNIFIED TAX CREDIT – 12 (AP)
WHEREAS, the Unified Tax Credit increases are set to expire in 2012; and
WHEREAS, the loss of the increases in the Unified Tax Credit would be a serious burden to livestock producers.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA strongly supports establishment of an inflation index of the Unified Tax Credit at the highest level and the retention of the stepped-up basis if the estate tax is not permanently eliminated.
ANTIQUITIES ACT - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, the Antiquities Act of 1906 has been used to create National Monuments against the will of the people who are most directly affected by these designations; and
WHEREAS, by the authorization of only the president of the United States, National Monuments can be established that supersede all other public and Congressional input; and
WHEREAS, the intent of this Act was not to create land preserves that the federal government would control and dictate social, economic, cultural and business enterprises.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports Congressional action that will abolish this Act all together.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA urges the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to pursue the abolishment of the Antiquities Act as well.
CLEAN WATER - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, the NDSA believes that clean water is essential to the health and well-being of the nation; and
WHEREAS, federal regulations for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and animal feeding operations (AFOs) may force unnecessary and costly restrictions on animal agriculture; and
WHEREAS, voluntary, incentive-based conservation is a proven, effective method.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a voluntary, incentive-based and locally controlled approach to clean water.
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT RISK ASSESSMENTS - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, activist groups have targeted agricultural pesticides and rodenticides by filing lawsuits and claiming a breech in risk assessment requirements.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a federal legislative solution that clearly establishes the primacy of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act for pesticide regulation in the United States and an amendment to the Endangered Species Act to exempt the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide reviews from Section 7 of the act if those reviews are conducted under a system agreed upon by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.
FARM POLICY CONFLICTS - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, many of the current federal farm policies, conservation programs and legislative actions are being influenced by wildlife and conservation organizations that are putting wildlife production and hunting opportunities ahead of food production and ag producers' livelihood; and
WHEREAS, these policies may require producers to choose between participating in farm or conservation programs and their property rights.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes legislation or policy that requires landowners to forfeit any of their property rights, such as controlling access as a part of any state or federal programs or actions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the right of producers to voluntarily close their private lands to public access as a means to bring awareness of and change tothese restrictive policies being advocated by these wildlife organizations.
FEDERAL BUDGET AND TAXES - 11 (AP)
BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA requests Congress and the Administration to develop realistic spending priorities in order to make real and significant budget cuts and to enact a balanced budget.
HEALTH INSURANCE - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, the vast majority of Americans are covered by health insurance provided by either government or private or public employers on which neither social security nor income taxes are paid; and
WHEREAS, the owners and operators of sole proprietorships, partnerships and sub-chapter S corporations cannot deduct from net income any health-care costs for themselves.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the total inclusion as an ordinary business expense of health insurance costs for the owners of such businesses who work more than half time for their business.
IMPUTED INTEREST RATES - 11 (AP)
BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports improvement or repeal of the federal imputed interest rate rules, which effectively set the interest rate which is charged on seller-financed transactions of homes, farms, ranches and small businesses.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA resists all attempts by the federal government to set interest rates on owner contracts of real estate and business.
INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGES - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, oil & gas development is having a detrimental impact on rural communities; and
WHEREAS, oil drilling permits are being issued at a rate faster than local infrastructure systems can handle the impact.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a change in the permitting process that would involve input from local, county, and city commissions that would allow development at a pace that can be sustained by the communities.
NATIONAL GRASSLANDS MANAGEMENT PLAN - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, the 2002 Dakota Prairie Grasslands Plan will spell economic disaster to those communities dependent on these lands for their livelihood while accomplishing nothing beneficial to the land or wildlife; and
WHEREAS, empirical and scientific evidence from North Dakota State University (NDSU) range scientists, the Forest Service and grazing associations involved supports alternatives that promote wildlife and rangeland health without significant livestock reductions; and
WHEREAS, the multi-million-dollar Forest Service budget on the Grasslands is excessive.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the Dakota Prairie Grasslands Plan.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA supports alternatives based on NDSU range science and rangeland health by urging the North Dakota Congressional delegation to work toward cost-effective solutions without significant livestock reductions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA supports returning the management of the Dakota Prairie Grasslands to the Natural Resources Conservation Service to focus on rangeland health that includes adequate wildlife habitat and a more cost-effective budget.
PERPETUAL EASEMENTS - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, the NDSA believes each generation should have the same opportunities as the one that came before to implement decisions in the management and stewardship of their owned lands; and
WHEREAS, perpetual easement agreements regarding Federal conservation programs will limit these decisions by future generations and can be changed to further limit what management practices can be implemented in the future.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes easements that limit management or stewardship practices on a perpetual basis and supports using voluntary, single-generation and renewable easements in their place.
PREDATOR CONTROL - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, predator populations are increasing very rapidly, creating problems in the livestock industry and wildlife populations.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports the reclassification of mountain lions and coyotes from furbearer to predator.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA supports continued state and federal funding for predator control.
RENEWABLE ENERGY - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, there is a concern among cattle producers about the influence of renewable energy policy on the availability and price of feed grains and other feedstuffs.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a transition to a fair, market-based approach for the production and usage of renewable fuels produced from livestock feedstuffs.
STATE SCHOOL LANDS - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, some state grant lands have been sold and are now on the county tax roll; and
WHEREAS, the return in interest to the state school trust fund is far greater than the present rental rate on state grant lands; and
WHEREAS, it has been proposed to sell selected state grant lands to the North Dakota Department of Transportation at appraised value to be used as mitigation acres to replace no-mow areas located across the state.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports amending the sale policy of state grant lands by the Board of University and School Lands to allow the transfer of these lands into private ownership.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes the sale or transfer of selected state grant lands to the North Dakota Department of Transportation to replace no-mow areas.
SURFACE DAMAGES COMPENSATION - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, surface property owners often do not get adequate protection or fair compensation for mineral development when they do not own the minerals or when those minerals are segmented beyond the surface owner’s control; and
WHEREAS, compensation for surface damages often do not reflect the overall negative impact to the value of the surface property beyond the initial damage site.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports a fair compensation plan to surface owners that better reflects the lost productive value of the land.
SURFACE OWNER PROTECTON - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, oil & gas development in North Dakota is having a detrimental impact on agriculture; and
WHEREAS despite recent legislation, surface owner protection is still inadequate and lacks enforcement; and
WHEREAS the mineral owners' rights supersede the surface owners' rights.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports legislation that would give surface owners property rights at least equal to those of mineral owners.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the NDSA supports legislation to allow surface owners to share in the income of the well from the oil company separate from the royalty interest for the disruption to agricultural operations caused by oil & gas development.
TRESPASSING - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, many landowners in North Dakota feel their property rights are being abused by trespassing; and
WHEREAS, the NDSA has always been a strong supporter of property rights.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA supports legislation or legal actions that would initiate a no-trespass law on ag property.
WILD AND SCENIC RIVER DESIGNATION - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, certain groups are proposing the declaration of wild and scenic rivers; and
WHEREAS, the vast majority of this land is privately owned; and
WHEREAS, "wild and scenic" designations would curtail grazing and mineral development, stop range improvements, require relocation of homesteads and have a severe and depressing economic hardship on producers affected.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA opposes any such federal and/or state designation of any portion of a river or stream in the state of North Dakota.
WILDERNESS - 11 (AP)
WHEREAS, certain groups are now proposing wilderness designation on the National Grasslands in North Dakota; and
WHEREAS, this proposal will require acquisition of private and state lands which are within the boundaries of these proposed "wilderness" areas; and
WHEREAS, many thousands of acres of privately-owned minerals that underlie these lands which may be legally explored and developed regardless of surface ownership; and
WHEREAS, being developed agricultural lands, which were once in private ownership, do not meet the conditions and criteria in the 1964 Wilderness Act, as well as not being a legal use under the Bankhead Jones Act; and
WHEREAS, present legal use of these lands would be severely curtailed to the detriment of the local and state economies if such "wilderness" designation was made.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the NDSA vigorously opposes wilderness designation of any of the National Grasslands in North Dakota.