NDFB President chronicles busy year

Created: 11/11/16 (Fri) | Topic: Events

In his first year as NDFB President, Daryl Lies has witnessed the challenges facing North Dakota agriculture on a variety of fronts, but says the power of NDFB’s beliefs have helped make the organization agriculture’s most powerful advocate in the state.

“Members expect a leader to be out there, to help empower, to support the counties and the members, and I’m more than willing because of the great membership we have, to put those hours, those days, those miles on for this organization,” Lies said in his address to the delegate body at the NDFB Annual Meeting, held at the Ramkota in Bismarck on November, 11-12.

From supporting the Buffalo pig farm, to initiating a movement to tell agriculture’s side of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest story, Lies said he traveled more than 35,000 miles and participated in more than 280 interviews on behalf of NDFB and its members.

“What we’ve come to find out through strategic thinking, through our strategic process, that communication, the ability to communicate, the need to communicate with not just our members, with not just our political leaders, but with the public, every citizen that is removed from agriculture, is becoming more and more important each and every day. And I’ll take that task on and I’m honored to do it for this great organization,” he said.

Lies said NDFB is unafraid to take a stand that may not always be popular, like the Buffalo pig farm, but is on the right side of the issue. He pointed out that the farm’s owners were going through the proper permitting process and the North Dakota Department of Health was following the proper procedures, making sure protocols and ordinances were followed, and NDFB was more than happy to point that out time and again.

That same sentiment also led NDFB to initiate a lawsuit challenging North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming laws.

“The ability to gain investments, the ability to do what you as farmers and ranchers want to do on your property with who you want and how you want, just like every other legal business out there can…but yet the North Dakota farmer and rancher doing legal business is discriminated against and can’t use those financial tools that every other legal business can,” Lies said.

Lies also said that NDFB was instrumental in getting agriculture’s side of the story told in the ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline protest after Morton County Farm Bureau members asked if there was something the state organization could do. He said no one – especially the media – was addressing the intimidation farmers and ranchers were facing daily by protesters.

“When you actually hear from someone who can tell you first-hand, and see that emotion and the concern, it really started to hit home.”

Lies publicly thanked Morton County rancher Doug Hille for being the voice and face of farmers and ranchers in that area.

“Because Doug took that first step, he helped empower his neighbors to share their stories.”

Lies pointed out that the pipeline protest has proven NDFB’s long-standing position on private property rights has become more important than ever.

“They are absolutely trampling on private property rights down there, and intimidating while they’re trampling on private property rights. We have an opportunity to lead on the issue of private property rights in this next legislative session. And we have legislators that are finally behind us and want to take the steps to guarantee that those rights are inherent, not just thought to be.

“Communication has become the most-needed thing in agriculture,” he told the delegates. “Our organization is going to be the one to lead the way. We are the premier ag organization in the state, and we’re going to prove that NDFB is the premier ag organization in the country.”

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