ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Ag commissioner candidate discusses oil transport, land reclamation

Ryan Taylor, candidate for North Dakota's Commissioner of Agriculture, spoke with The Grand Forks Herald Editorial Board Friday about what he thought were the main issues facing agriculture in the state.

641191+TaylorRyan.jpg
Taylor, who ranches near Towner, N.D., is an Agweek columnist.

Ryan Taylor, candidate for North Dakota's Commissioner of Agriculture, spoke with The Grand Forks Herald Editorial Board Friday about what he thought were the main issues facing agriculture in the state.

Taylor also spoke about potential action he would take as a member of the state's Industrial Commission, a three-member board made up of the commissioner of agriculture, the Attorney General and the governor.

One of Taylor's main priorities if elected would be freeing up rail space for farmers who need to transport grain. He said the current amount of crude oil being transported is making it impossible for farmers to adequately transport crops.

"The thought of food spoiling on the ground is immoral to us as North Dakotans," said Taylor, a fourth generation cattle and hay rancher from Towner.

Taylor said the best way to free up rail space for farmers would be to shift more oil transportation to pipelines. He said some pipelines are not being used to capacity, which means that is an easy solution to lightening the oil burden on rails.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I see a lot of value in Sandpiper," he said, mentioning how it transports oil the same way as the rail, which leads to large eastern markets such as Philadelphia.

Cooperation campaign

Although his position would be commissioner of agriculture, much of Taylor's discussion centered around oil and transportation. He said it's impossible to not talk about both at this point, and he is pushing a campaign of collaboration between the two fields.

"You have to bring agriculture and energy together," he said.

Taylor said managing the Bakken's oil development is crucial to the state's future. While the economic opportunity afforded by the oil boom is great for the state, it will eventually level off, leaving the state to the agriculture that has supported it for so long. Therefore, keeping the land in a farmable state is key.

He referenced previous efforts of former Gov. Arthur Link in the '70s, who fought for reclamation rights for land used for coal mining. Taylor said he hopes that similar efforts can be made for oil land so that it can be used appropriately without destroying future potential for agriculture.

"We as North Dakotans wanted topsoil back in place because we are farmers and ranchers," he said. "That's who we are."

What To Read Next
Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions says its pipeline project will help ethanol plants. The project aims to capture greenhouse gas emissions and pipe the CO2 to western North Dakota for underground storage.
The number of cows going to slaughter is far above the five-year average. Attendees of the annual Cow Calf Days tour in Minnesota heard the latest on cattle trends.
As Mikkel Pates approaches his retirement from Agweek after 44 years in journalism, he talks to Rose Dunn about learning TV, covering ag's characters and scandals and looking toward the future.
Members Only
“In our industry there aren’t a lot of young people in it. I like the fact that there are a lot of young people in agriculture here,” he said of the Mitchell area.