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NDFB President warns "there's a storm coming"

Created: 11/19/10 (Fri) | Topic: Events

North Dakota Farm Bureau President Eric Aasmundstad warned those attending the opening session of the organization’s 68th annual meeting that there is a storm coming, and it is groups that would like to put the livestock industry out of business.

“We can’t talk about this enough,” he said. “There is a real threat to the livestock industry brewing out there, and Measure 2 was an opening shot.”

He said although Measure 2 was sold as a high fence hunting bill, in reality it had more to do with the ability to raise and profit from meat production in the state.

“If you read the measure, they talked about elk and deer, but the most ambiguous part was they couldn’t be killed in a man-made enclosure. What is that? Is it a squeeze chute? Is it a crowding alley? A 10,000-acre pasture with a fence around it? Yes. They’re all man-made.”

He said a lot of people don’t realize the Humane Society of the United States funded the effort.

“Folks, they didn’t care if they won. It was an experiment. And they learned everything they needed to know.”

He said that, even though the measure failed statewide, it won in the areas that were targeted, specifically Cass and Grand Forks counties.

“What HSUS learned is that if they spend a little money in North Dakota, they can do away with the animal ag industry.”

He said Farm Bureau has the tools in place to protect the industry, through the NDFB Foundation and the organization’s Political Action Committees, but they need more dollars to do more work.

“We’re not prepared, today, to beat them. The only ones who can prepare us to beat them is you. We need to start protecting our own industry. Why aren’t we protecting our industry?

“We’ve developed the tools and put them in place, but now it’s up to you to make them functional. If you don’t prepare us for the fight that’s coming, we’ll lose. It is for the preservation of your industry; for the protection of your industry,” he stressed.

He said groups like HSUS that would like to end animal agriculture in the United States are targeting states that have citizen referendums.

“Florida, Arizona, California, Colorado, Ohio and North Dakota. That’s the one thing those states have in common. And they know it, they know how to use it, they have the funding to use it, they have the tools to use it.”

The best way to combat this, he pointed out, is to start reaching out and educating consumers.

“We have to quit worrying about our core. We already believe agriculture is important. And we all believe it’s worth fighting for. The person we really have to reach is that 39-year-old mother who goes to the grocery store twice a week to buy groceries for her family. We get our message through to her, and we win.”

Aasmundstad also said it is important to remind consumers that if HSUS and other groups get their way and drive U.S. animal agriculture out of business, “There will always be meat, milk and eggs, but it’s going to be coming from other countries where they don’t have all these ‘pesky public health’ regulations to deal with.”

He closed by encouraging members to stand firm in their beliefs.

“You give us a very clear direction. Our philosophical beliefs are printed in our policy book. And when you have a clear direction and a clear purpose, and you know a storm is coming, don’t compromise your principals. Don’t compromise your policy, but welcome others to join you, on your terms.”

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