JAMESTOWN, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) – A U.S. District Court judge today granted a motion allowing North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Dakota’s corporate farming statute. NDFU had petitioned the court for intervention status in October of last year.
The ruling allows the state’s largest farm organization to participate in the ongoing litigation. Current state law prohibits non-family farm corporations or LLCs from owning farmland or engaging in production agriculture; the law is being challenged by North Dakota Farm Bureau and other litigants.
Farmers Union led a referral last year of a law that would have allowed corporate ownership of land by dairy and swine operations. That measure was defeated by 75 percent of voters and failed to pass in every single county.
NDFU President Mark Watne issued the following statement on Chief Judge Daniel L. Hovland’s ruling:
“We’re extremely pleased with the judge’s ruling today. It gives us the ability to actively participate in the legal defense of a law that is incredibly important to family farm and ranch agriculture in our state… a law Farmers Union has consistently defended since we first helped enact it in 1932.
“The vote last June was pretty clear. North Dakotans want family farms as their primary business structure and system of agricultural production, not corporate farming.
“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure the will of the people is honored and family farming remains the backbone of our agricultural economy.”
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