A bill to allow landowners to electronically post their land was stalled in the house last week. This bill passed the senate overwhelmingly and has the support of both hunter and landowner groups. SB 2144 is a culmination of several years’ work between land owner and property rights’ interest groups and the hunting community. And while this issue has been very contentious in the past, the stakeholders agree that this current legislation is a step in the right direction and allows landowners to protect their private property rights through the use of modern technologies. 

Landowners can still choose to physically post their land but this bill would give them an option that will lessen the burden and cost on landowners. Information on how to electronically post land and access the online posted data base is expected to be available over the next couple of months as the program rolls out. 

Emmery Mehlhoff, NDFB Public Policy Liaison and a producer from central North Dakota said: The passage of this bill will mark a step in the right direction for our producers. Posting land can be a tedious and expensive task for many landowners. With our harsh ND years, the life span of many signs do not exceed beyond a couple of years. For some landowners, it takes a 4-wheeler, a horse, and a boat to post all of their land. Although this bill does not completely fulfill the policy of NDFB and many other ag advocacy groups to consider “all lands posted”, it is a good move forward.

NDFB will release a Podcast on Wednesday discussing how electronic posting will work with Senator Robert Erbele and the Game and Fish Software Engineer who developed the online posting component. Straight Talk with NDFB can be listened to at ndfb.org or on any podcast platform. 

The Standing Rock Renewable Energy Power Authority or (SAGE) Development Authority hosted a virtual conversation with the four living Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairmen last week. The foremost energy-related topic of the conversation was building a utility-scale wind farm for Standing Rock.

Former Tribal Chairman, Ron His Horse is Thunder, says the tribal council was reluctant to partner with outside wind energy companies in the past because those companies wanted to outsource both the electricity and revenue.

“Those companies, those partnerships, were really about profit-making for that company, and not about taking those revenues, and developing the homes if you will on the reservation. Not about creating new revenue streams for tribes, for tribe to help put up solar panels in individuals homes or in a community center. They were all about coming in, using our land, and then shipping off the electricity, and taking those profits from it and putting in their pockets,” explained His Horse is Thunder.

SAGE Authority’s campaign is to build a 235 Mega Watt wind farm that will reinvest back into the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The challenge of wind turbine blade disposal has captured attention around the world.
North Dakota alone has more than 1,500 turbines using 4,400 blades. Many wind blades will soon be upgraded or retired, and finding secondary value will help offset costs for decommissioning and disposal while setting the state ahead of the curve in developing a blade-recycling infrastructure.
A team at the Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) has received State Energy Research Center (SERC) funding to address the need for further research into the reuse, recycling, or repurposing potential of wind blades in North Dakota.

A bill to exempt lignite coal fired electric generating plants from paying facility taxes for five years, passed in the Senate last week by a vote of 43 – 4.
HB 14-12 would give North Dakota lignite fired plants a 5 year so called, tax holiday
Instead — lignite fired plants will pay a lignite research tax to put funding toward developing new technoligies to keep the industry viable in a rapidly changing market.
The bill heads back to the House for a vote on changes made to the bill by the Senate.

During the 2021 legislative session, North Dakota Farmers Union has been a vocal advocate for increased funding for value-added ag projects. Last week, the North Dakota state legislature passed two bills that provide a total of $40 million in support of value-added agriculture projects. According to North Dakota Farmers Union government relations director Matt Perdue, HB 1475 establishes a new Agriculture Development and Diversification Fund to provide loans, interest rate buydowns and grants to new or expanding value-added business. The program is funded at $10 million.

“We think that this program is really going to be a game changer for value added development in the state and with that comes higher margins for North Dakota farmers and rancher. Comes new opportunities. New opportunities to diversify on the farm but also opportunities to diversify our local economies to drive economic growth,” explained Perdue.

Perdue also said SB 2230 provides $30 million in new funding authority for the Bank of North Dakota’s Value-Added Guarantee Loan. The program, which was previously funded at $50 million, provided a lifeline to North Dakota’s ethanol industry in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. NDFU supported the increase, because it will further the program’s ability to support a wide variety of value-added projects. HB 1475 and SB 2230 now head to the governor’s desk for his signature.

NDFU President Mark Watne: “HB 1475 will support continued progress in building out our state’s slaughter capacity. It will also promote the development of soybean crush facilities, new ethanol plants, feed mills, hemp processors, and more. In each case, it will create new opportunities up and down the supply chain. These two bills will play a pivotal role in improving farmers’ and ranchers’ incomes, creating new jobs and building a stronger state economy.”