The myth of corporate farming

Created: 5/03/16 (Tue) | Topic: Issues

What is corporate farming? And how will it impact North Dakota? NDFB President Daryl Lies sets the record straight and shares more about what corporate farming is, and what it isn't. 

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Read the transcript:

In light of the recent increase in discussions, and evidenced by the phone calls I have received over the issue of corporate farming in North Dakota, I felt it was time to have the dialogue with the honest presentation of some facts: What corporate farming really is, and what it really isn't and doesn't mean to North Dakota agriculture.

North Dakota Farm Bureau policy states that we support the elimination of the corporate farming laws in North Dakota. We truly believe in the free enterprise system, which our country was founded on. We believe farmers and ranchers in their business structures should have the same opportunities as any other business out there to use a corporate financial planning and tax structure for the protection of their assets, the protection of their family and the ability to pass on easily and readily to the next generation.

There have been statements made that corporate farming is going to open the door for major corporations that are going to come up to North Dakota and buy big tracts of land and overtake our agricultural industry. There are only a handful of states that currently have restrictions on the corporate structure and the use of it in agriculture, and in fact North Dakota's laws are the most restrictive.

And according to the last solid ag census data—they rank small family farms, midsize family farms, large family farms and extremely large family farms—you might find it interesting that North Dakota is at the bottom of the list when it comes to having small family farms.

We are told quite the opposite in the argument against corporate farming; but in fact, in Iowa, two percent more of the farms are owned by small family farms compared with North Dakota. And that's in spite of not having the so-called "protection" from corporate farming.

Because on the flip side of that, North Dakota leads the nation—that's correct, leads the nation—in the percentage of large family farms. Eleven percent of our family farms are in that category. The next closest state is Nebraska at eight percent.

So, this begs the question: By not allowing this financial planning and tax tool in the toolbox for farmers that every other business has, are we helping them or hindering them?

Corporate farming isn't going to hurt small family farms. Quite the opposite: We feel corporate farming can help solidify small family farms from one generation to the next.

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