BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — Senate Bill 2373 looks to add a new section of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to the establishment of the livestock-friendly county designation.

Senate Bill 2373 states the commissioner can establish a livestock-friendly county designation, recognizing and assisting efforts to develop, maintain, or expand livestock sectors within counties of our state. This bill would allow a county to apply to the commissioner in order to become designated as a livestock-friendly county.

“The commissioner shall designate a county as a livestock friendly county based on that counties efforts to maintain or expand it’s livestock sector,” said State Senator Robert Erbele.

A county is eligible to apply if they meet 5 standards, such as its board of county commissioners, has adopted and enacted a resolution that expresses interest. They must also have completed a study identifying suitable locations for rural economic development. nErbele says this gives the people in our counties a voice on what they want.

“It allows the communities to actually get out there and discuss and say what do we want in our backyard and what’s missing and how do we go about doing that,” added Erbele.

The bill was well supported during the committee hearing on Friday, February 3rd. A Representative from the North Dakota Agriculture Department says this bill would help our state catch up to states that are well ahead of us.

“A lot of what you see on here is that we don’t have a standard throughout the state,” stated North Dakota Department of Agriculture Deputy Commissioner Tom Bodine. “Some areas have made it more restrictive for animal agriculture to exist, especially on the large scal.,”

The Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Committee unanimously passed this bill, and has been placed on the calendar to be heard on the senate floor.

To view this bill along with many others, visit the North Dakota Legislative Branch website.