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Published November 30, 2010, 10:47 AM

ND Farm Bureau considers insurance cost, competition

FARGO, N.D. — The North Dakota Farm Bureau has gone beyond its previous support for movement toward no national farm program payments to support privatizing crop insurance programs.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — The North Dakota Farm Bureau has gone beyond its previous support for movement toward no national farm program payments to support privatizing crop insurance programs.

North Dakota Farm Bureau President Eric Aasmundstad, after the vote at the group’s annual meeting in Fargo, N.D., says it appeared the move might make crop insurance more cost efficient because of competition.

“We believe that all government agricultural programs should be eliminated,” the new resolution says. “We favor a private insurance program for risk management.”

Policy work

The farm bureau didn’t make any extreme policy changes this year, Aasmundstad says, but passed a resolution in favor of flood protection for Fargo from spring flooding “provided there are no negative impacts to upstream and downstream property owners.”

The vote on Fargo flooding came after some impassioned discussion.

Jim Lee, a Ward County, N.D., delegate, says the support for flood control essentially was a vote for non-support, as it probably wouldn’t be possible to implement flood protection that has “no” negative affects.

Sara Lovas, a Traill County, N.D., delegate, however, says “no impacts” was the only standard she could accept.

Other ag issues

In a related issue, the farm bureau supports an east-end outlet to North Dakota’s Devils Lake.

Jeff Missling, the organization’s state executive director, says another resolution that may be the issue in the 2010 North Dakota Legislature is the graduated drivers license.

Some proponents would like to change the change to age 16.

The Farm Bureau supports “a farm-friendly drivers license program with a minimum age of 14.5,” the resolution says.

This allows youths on the farm to help with farm work and get to town for events, which is a bigger issue on the farm than in cities, Missling says. Hours in the cars and passengers are the biggest safety issues in accidents, some delegates say.

The Farm Bureau also voted to support increased state funding for repairs and maintenance of county and township infrastructure to repair road damages as a result of various forms of traffic — not only in oil country, but also from flooding in 2009.

Board elections

The group elected three new board members.

“One trend we’re seeing with our organization is an influx of youth,” Missling says. “About 33 percent of our delegates were 35 years or under.”

Nathan Green, of Pembina County, and Chad Weckerly, of Hurdsfield, were elected to three-year board terms. The third new board member is Weston Dvorak, chairman of the Young Farmer and Rancher Committee, from Manning, in North Dakota’s Dunn County.

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