FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2018
New Report Details Challenges Facing North Dakota Family Farmers
Grand Forks ND – Today, in a joint briefing with Family Farm Action, the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) released a report outlining the dire state of North Dakota family farmers and rural communities. Shockingly, only one in 10 farmers in North Dakota are considered young farmers with few returning to an industry where the outlook is so grim. The report paints a picture of rural communities struggling as farming is increasingly industrialized and consolidated. Agribusiness firms that control inputs such as seed and chemicals and meat processing have seen extreme consolidation, to the point of creating near monopolies. As a result, family farmers, once the economic engine of North Dakota are being lost.
Joe Maxwell, a hog farmer and Executive Director of OCM said, “Over the past several decades we have lost a million farmers nationwide. North Dakota has a great history of being a strong farm community and the state’s future prosperity depends on these family farmers.”
The report includes a list of policy steps that could be taken in North Dakota to help level the playing field for family farmers, including protecting the corporate farming ban, a country of origin labeling requirement for meat, transparency in farm contracts, and a focus on food sovereignty through strong local food systems.
State Representative Josh Boschee said, “North Dakota family farms are the backbone of our state’s economy. Having served on the House Agriculture committee for the past three legislative sessions, I’ve appreciated how engaged farmers and ranchers are in ensuring that the policies we enact support rural economic development and good land stewardship. That is why I support Family Farm Action’s effort to create policy that restore prosperity in our rural communities”
Wes Shoemyer, Farmer and Board Member of Family Farm Action made it clear, “We can have whatever kind of agriculture we want but we must make policy that promotes it. North Dakotans have to put pressure on elected officials to make drastic changes or strongly consider elected representatives that will.”
Family Farm Action is a coalition of family farmers and advocates building the “political muscle” to fight for farmers and rural communities.
Organization for Competitive Markets is a membership-based research and advocacy organization working for open and competitive markets and fair trade in America’s food and agricultural sectors.