North Dakota voters reject looser rules for corporate farms

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota voters have rejected the Legislature’s move to loosen the state’s Depression-era rules prohibiting corporate farming.

The North Dakota Farmers Union led the campaign to overturn the Legislature’s decision last year to exempt pork and dairy operations from the state’s corporate farming ban.

Supporters of the so-called ham-and-cheese law had said it would revitalize dairy and swine farms after years of decline.

Opponents say the law is an invitation for big, out-of-state corporations to set up operations in North Dakota.

Even after the vote in Tuesday’s primary election, the debate over the law isn’t over. The North Dakota Farm Bureau filed a lawsuit earlier this month in federal court, asking a judge to declare the entire law unconstitutional.