Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The NEED for 3, MEASURE 3!

Today, I have had the opportunity to share my insight on the need to pass MEASURE 3. My husband and I have had several calls, and I have been able to "speak" to several people via Facebook and text regarding adding a constitutional amendment protecting farming and ranching practices in North Dakota.

Simply put... This amendment is like our right to bear arms. It doesn't mean we can shoot someone. Measure 3 gives farmers and ranchers the right to use the most current practices. It doesn't mean we can be negligent. It simply means we can choose to use best practices for our operations. Just as teachers use researched best practices with their students!!! Another scenario is that we have an amendment in the constitution that protects our right to hunt and fish. This means that we are awarded the priviledge, but have to follow the rules of hunting seasons, quantity limits and purchase licenses. The passing of Measure 3 would essentially do the same thing. We as farmers and ranchers would still have to abide by the rules and regulations that are reflective of safety, consumer request, and need.

Here is a conversation that helps explain Measure 3.....

ND Citizen: I'm still really confused on this measure. Don't farmers already have the right to use the most current practices? Why do we need to vote on it? I'm not sure which way to vote on this one.

ME: Please let me share. We do not have the right to farm or ranch protected in our state constitution. Outside special interest groups are working very hard to take away our right to provide the state/ nation/ world with quality food choices. They are attempting to eliminate all animal agriculture and drastically cut production of crops.
They do not understand the need for modern practices such as cover crops to enhance soil quality and prevent erosion not to mention food for livestock or technologies such as precision farming that can allow for minimized fertilizer, seed and chemical usage.

Modern practices include things that are very old practices but are still being done today such as branding and artificially inseminating animals. By protecting these among other practices we can stand strong against these special interest groups that are out to endanger the livelihood of over 32,000 farms in ND. With the passage if Measure 3 there is also a positive effect on or protection for all jobs (tens of thousands ) connected to agriculture in our state.

ND Citizen: Okay, that makes sense. But who defines the modern practices terminology? I guess thats my issue with it. Because I am all for cover crops and precision farming and things of that nature.

ME:Modern and practices are guided as terms by their formal definitions in the dictionary as individual terms.(Modern: of, relating to, or characteristic of a period extending from a relevant remote past to the present time. Practices: to do something customarily.) The legislature and / or other formal systems that are regulatory provide the guidelines. As fast as things change they also change slow enough to look at the researched best and modern practices with a careful eye that will provide the safest and best scenario for all given a wide variety of operating sizes, conditions and methodologies.

After soliciting input from individuals involved in agriculture I was fortunate to be able to explain more....

ND Resident: Can I ask a question? Why was this introduced? who is trying to take away your rights as farmers? Does the constitution not allow for modern farming practices already? I believe everyone should be happy with the conservation practices of modern farming. Who is opposed? By the way this is a good topic to discuss because the wording is vague in the amendment. You are right to inquire what exactly is "modern farm practices". One of the reason why it needs to be defined is because what happens when a different administration gets in there and interperates modern farm practices under a different definition.

ME: Thanks for the question! Farming and ranching are under attack from special interest groups such as PETA, HSUS, environmental organizations etc. as a proud member if Farm Bureau and a state representative for the Young Farmers and Ranchers we along with numerous other agricultural groups have formed the Feeding Families committee and have worked hard for the past 1.5 years to collect over 26,000 signatures to get Measure 3 on the ballot. We do not have a constitutional amendment that protects farming and ranching. I understand the concern about vagueness, but it is impossible to list all the modern practices today and in the future.
This amendment simply protects our right to farm and ranch ensuring food choice and our ability to use safe approved practices. It will not change anything with zoning as this is a legislative process. It does not mean we can go against approved regulations. It means that we are protected to use approved practices and that outside anti- Ag and special interest groups cannot take our heritage and livelihoods away from us. It is not a debate about GMO, organic or conventional seed. It is a measure to protect ALL acceptable/ approved practices and allow us to continue to research additional things such as conservation practices, more efficient machinery, new technology that will aid in the reduction of waste of seed, chemical and fertilizer etc. It will also allow us to continue practices that help care for and protect the livestock that raised in the state.

Outside special interest groups are working very hard in ND and the nation to abolish animal ag and other farming practices that are leading to better products and less fertilizer and chemical use. They do not understand and are not willing to listen as to why we do what we do. Please vote YES to Measure 3 and No on 5. For with this vote ALL will win!

So, what I ask is that if you wonder what is happening in the world of agriculture that as a state we need constitutional protection, ask a farmer or rancher, find out what is occuring on modern farms and ranches ask.... Farming and Ranching is at the root of our ND heritage. Please vote to protect it in respect of our ancestors and for this and future generations.


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