Doug Goehring, North Dakota’s Commissioner of Agriculture, was on my radio show this afternoon to talk about an aspect of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests which haven’t gotten a lot of attention so far.
Namely, their impacts on farmers and ranchers in the area.
“It is irresponsible of the media to portray this as peaceful,” Goehring told me of the protests.
He said farmers and ranchers in areas even as far way as 20 or 30 miles from the protests are feeling “frustration, fear, anxiety, and tension.”
“It’s just like living down in an area that seems like a battle zone,” he said.
“These are innocent people who are caught in harm’s way,” he added.
He said he’s spoken to farmers and ranchers from the area who have sent their children to live in the Bismarck/Mandan area during the protests because they don’t feel safe. He said ag producers are having troubles harvesting their crops or tending to their cattle because of the protest activities and the law enforcement response they provoke.
In one instance he said he spoke to a farmer who lives 20 miles away from the main protest area who had a protester chain himself to a light pole in his farm yard.
“This is terrible,” he told me.
Earlier this week the Morton County Sheriff’s Department reported that a total of 95 protesters have been arrested so far. Goehring praised law enforcement for their work, but said they are stretched too thin to deal with all the problems protesters are causing for people living and working in the area.
“They don’t care whose property it is,” Goehring said of the protesters.
Here’s the audio: