WASHINGTON — A group of North Dakota farmers and ranchers had breakfast at the Mexican embassy on Wednesday, June 6, to further trade relationships and to assure the Mexican ambassador that the state and the country remain committed to trade and the North American Free Trade Agreement. The meeting, organized by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, included the following representatives from North Dakota agriculture groups: • Steve Edwardson, executive administrator of the North Dakota Barley Council;
BISMARCK — Proponents of a state law that opened up what home cooks and farmers can sell to the public without licensing or inspection say rules for cottage foods proposed by North Dakota Department of Health would block much of what they hoped to accomplish with the law. But a health department official says the law is one of the nation's most lenient, even with the proposed rules.
HAZEN, N.D. — Communities of all sizes need to have integrated plans in place for combating addiction if they want a chance at receiving federal dollars aimed at the opioid epidemic, U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp told community members at a forum on Feb. 20. The North Dakota Democrat had held six prior events to discuss opioid addiction across the state, but the Hazen event was the first to focus on the unique needs and problems for rural communities.
MANDAN, N.D. — In Vermont, where Angela and Brian McGinness used to farm, small towns don't have big grocery stores. "In every town, people buy food from their neighbors," Angela McGinness says. Angela's home state of North Dakota, where they decided to move, was more of a blank slate for local foods. The McGinnesses started Riverbound Farm south of Mandan, N.D., in 2009 as a Community Supported Agriculture venture.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp has asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to send additional staff members again to Farm Service Agency offices in western North Dakota. "As we approach the end of the crop year, it is essential our county FSA offices have the resources to provide producers with timely assistance to help process disaster claims and related paperwork," Heitkamp wrote in the letter dated Thursday, Oct. 19.
WASHINGTON — Agriculture groups are urging the Trump administration to remain in the North American Free Trade Agreement upon reports that the White House is considering a draft executive order to withdraw from the longstanding trade deal. "Withdrawing from NAFTA would be disastrous for American agriculture," National Corn Growers Association president Wesley Spurlock said in a statement. "We cannot disrupt trade with two of our top trade partners and allies. This decision will cost America's farmers and ranchers markets that we will never recover."
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., has pledged to support former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue for U.S. Agriculture Secretary. Heitkamp on Monday morning spent about 45 minutes talking to Perdue about the U.S. Department of Agriculture, trade, the 2018 Farm Bill and other agriculture topics. She came out of the conversation convinced that Perdue will be a strong voice for agricultural interests in the Trump administration.
BISMARCK — The 2014 Farm Bill allowed for universities and state departments of agriculture to create pilot programs for the growing of industrial hemp. But it didn't change the Controlled Substances Act or make hemp completely legal. "The Farm Bill talks about industrial hemp, but the Controlled Substances Act does not mention or distinguish industrial hemp from marijuana," explains Russ Baer, spokesperson for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.