Bob Wisness: Ducks Unlimited's Political Agenda Is Bad For North Dakota

The mission of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association is to serve North Dakota’s wheat and barley producers with education, information and representation, and as the representative of the producers it is important that we voice our opposition to the National Resources Conservation Service using Ducks Unlimited personnel to do its business in the field.

While the NDGGA respects Ducks Unlimited’s activism on behalf of waterfowl in North Dakota, we do not appreciate that they are an out-of-state political organization that is working against North Dakota’s farmers when it comes to land usage and its stewardship. Instead of entrusting the stewardship of the land our farmers own to the farmer, DU has attempted to position itself as a better steward of the land, and therefore, as the organization that has the final say on what can be done with private land.

To now allow the federal government to use these employees as their “boots on the ground” in the state of North Dakota is unfair to every farmer, and the entire agricultural industry, in our state. The farmers in North Dakota have proven outstanding stewards of the state’s land for the last 150 years, and because of their conservation efforts (not DU’s) we still have some of the best growing conditions in the world while watching our waterfowl population continue to rise to record rates.

Even more discouraging is Ducks Unlimited’s support of Measure 5. Currently, 45% of DU’s national budget comes from the government. If Measure 5 passes, North Dakota DU will now have the opportunity to apply for even more grants and increase the number of field workers it can employ. (Yes, with Measure 5 in place DU could apply for up to $150 million in state conservation money, allowing them to place even MORE people in the field than they currently have.) Not only will they seek more personnel to place with the NRCS, but they’ll also have the opportunity to apply for more money with which they can buy privately owned land to pull out of agricultural production.

Ducks Unlimited has a political agenda, and that agenda goes against the best interests of North Dakota’s agricultural industry. They have already been successful at using their people to supplement jobs the governmental has neglected to hire, and if Measure 5 passes they’ll be able to infringe even further on the rights of our state’s landowners.

That’s not in the best interest of our farmers, it’s not in the best interest of our state’s resources and it definitely isn’t in the best interest of the people of North Dakota.

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