Mandan – The State Ag Department is asking for your help.
Changes are coming to the way grain elevators are inspected and licensed.
But before those changes take effect the State Agriculture Department is hosting a series of Town Hall Meetings to get public feedback on the changes.
To aid in that process the department held the first of five Town Hall meetings where farmers, and those from the grain community could get together and exchange ideas and concerns.
“I Think we really needed to have a lot of this feedback so that we have some more information to take legislative interim committee,” said AG Commissioner Doug Goehring
The first meeting was held Monday afternoon in Mandan and was attended by over a dozen people, unfortunately, no farmers were present and Commissioner Doug Goehring attributed that to the unseasonably warm weather and the urgency of the harvest.
Currently the Agriculture Department has no way to discipline offenders who are going against the rules because they don’t have the ability to impose fines. Just one of the things they learned after taking over the Grain Licensing and inspection program from the Public Service Commission in early July.
Stu Letcher is the Executive Vice President of the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association and tells KX News he agrees with Commissioner Goehring’s statement of not hurting farmers by creating too many barriers.
“You don’t want to make it so the producer is limited in his options as a producer, so we agree with that but wee also need to make sure that the licensing that’s in place covers the situations all over the country,” said Letcher.
The Town Hall lasted well over two hours with Commissioner Gohring taking and answering numerous questions, he tells me it’s time to improve the old antiquated system of Grain Licensing and inspection.
“We need to have something in place where it’s easy to figure out, I do this much in annual sales, this is what I should be bonded at. It doesn’t matter that I’m a roving grain buyer or a federal warehouse, this is how I operate and do business in the state,” Said Goehring
He adds the meetings are necessary thanks to a few bad apples taking advantage of the current system, something they hope to improve and streamline soon.
If you missed the first meeting, or don’t live near the Mandan area, you’ve got a few more chances to make your voice heard.
Devils Lake on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. at the KC Hall at 522 4th St. NE;
Fargo on Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 2 p.m. in the NDSU Memorial Union Arikara Room at 1401 Administration Avenue;
Dickinson on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. MDT at the Dickinson State University Agriculture Building at 400 State Avenue.
Stanley on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Mountrail County South Complex at 8103 61st St. NW.