Removing Ducks Unlimited and Pheasant Forever personnel from the role of recommending conservation practices to farmers through the Natural Resource Conservation Service is a "huge win" for agriculture, says Doyle Johannes, former North Dakota Farm Bureau president and an Underwood, N.D., farmer.
"We understand the need for this technical assistance, but we had a real problem with (those) organizations…making decisions that maybe weren't in the best interest of what we as farmers have to do out there," he says.
Johannes says that through the work of Congressman Kevin Cramer and his staff a solution was reached allowing Soil Conservation District technicians to serve in the capacity that biologists from Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever previously held.
"Trying to change a government agency and what's going on with the programs that are in place is a tall order," Johannes says. "But we were able to do it. I think it's a huge win for agriculture."
Johannes made the remarks at the recent North Dakota Farm Bureau annual meeting. Johannes, who has been president of the organization for the past four years, did not seek reelection to the post this year.
In his final address at the convention, Johannes urged members to remain vigilant on the Environmental Protection Agency's Waters of the United States rule.
"This won't just affect farming and ranching," Johannes said. "It affects political subdivisions and golf courses, housing developments, you name it."
Even though two separate court orders have halted implementation, the fix is only short-term. "The issue is far from over," he said. "We have to stay vigilant or it will severely cripple our ability to do what we love to do."
Lies elected president
Daryl Lies of Douglas, N.D., was elected to a two-year term as the organization's president. Lies and his wife, Kim, have two children and raise hogs, sheep and goats with an emphasis in show animals. Until his election as president, Lies also served as the agricultural liaison for Representative Kevin Cramer.
Nathan Fegley of Berthold was elected to fill out Lies's unexpired term on the NDFB Board. Fegley and his wife, Katie, have three children and raise small grains and operates Fegley Grain Cleaning, Incorporated.
Chris Brossart of Wolford was re-elected as vice president. He was also elected to a third, three-year term representing District 4 on the NDFB Board. Brossart and his wife, Jennie, have two children and raise spring and winter wheat, canola, barley, soybeans and pinto beans.
Dana Kaldor of Hillsboro was elected to a three-year term as the District 2 representative on the NDFB Board of Directors. Dana and his wife, Dawn, have three children. They raise soybeans, corn and wheat. Kaldor replaces John McConnell of Casselton who was ineligible to run for another term.
Kirk Olson of Arnegard was re-elected to his second three-year term representing District 8 on the board. Kirk and his wife, Heidi, have two children and raise small grains and pulse crops.
Val Wagner of Monango was re-elected as Promotion and Education Committee chairman. The committee chairman holds a position on the NDFB Board of Directors. Val and her husband, Mark, have a Simmental and Red Angus commercial beef farm and raise corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa hay. The Wagners have four children.
Elected as Young Farmer and Rancher Committee chairman is Craig Vaughn of Cavalier. The chair of the YF&R Committee holds a position on the NDFB Board of Directors. Craig and his wife, Kelly, farm in partnership with Craig's father and brother, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and purebred registered Limousin cattle. The Vaughns have one child.
Other NDFB Directors are Nathan Green of Glasston, representing District 1; Tom Christenson of Verona representing District 3, Chad Weckerly of Hurdsfield representing District 5; Wes Klein of Hazen representing District 7, and Weston Dvorak of Manning representing District 9.
Source: ND Farm Bureau