Property rights are among the topics at N. Dakota Stockmen meetings |

Property rights are among the topics at N. Dakota Stockmen meetings

Larry Schnell, co-owner of Dickinson Livestock Market in North Dakota, is going from a director within Livestock Marketing Association to vice president. Photo courtesy of LMA

Three speakers educated local ranchers at a North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Spring Roundup meeting in Mott. The gathering, held at the Knights of Columbus at 5 p.m., was one in a series of six held across the state in early June.

Warren Zenker from Gackle, who serves as the group’s president, welcomed ranchers and shared an overview of several state issues that group is working on. Zenker talked about property rights – and legislation that the organization supported during the 2017 legislative session that would have changed a long-standing law that allows access to private property unless the property is posted with no trespassing signs or the like.

The bill did not pass, and the organization, last fall at its convention, re-affirmed its concerns over private property rights, in part due to the pipeline protesters, some of whom trespassed on private property.

The organization has met with lawmakers, the governor’s office, hunting and sportsmens groups and others in an effort to find common ground for a law change that would re-affirm a propery right that has been breached over time. The group has also considered litigation as an option.

Zenker said the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association approved policy that would allow freeze brands to be considered proof of ownership on cattle. The organization will likely pursue a law change to that effect in the future.

Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson, St. Anthony, updated meeting-goers on national issues the group is focused on. She talked about the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate, informing folks that her group has submitted comments and joined working groups to direct legislation and regulatory changes that would allow for sensible and livestock-friendly trucking laws.

The NDSA is also working on a Farm Bill that will provide financing for additional Foot and Mouth Disease vaccine and conservation efforts under the Natural Resources Conservation Service or NRCS.

Ellingson said the NDSA is also working to ensure that marketers of “fake meat” or lab-grown meat can not legally label it as meat.

The meeting closed with a video presentation by local television reporter Al Gustin. He and his videographer Dwayne Walker have been sharing stories of North Dakota Ag producers for fifty years. He shared some video clips of news stories from the 70s, 80s and 90s related to market crashes, blizzards, drought and calving in the bitter cold.

The nominating committee met at the close of the meeting.

The NDSA had already hosted meetings in Eldridge and Sterling and will gather in Maddock June 8, Minot June 11 and Watford City June 12. See their website, for a full schedule.