Voices of America

Source: Kevin Chang

North Dakota voters overturned legislation Tuesday that loosened Depression-era regulations on corporate farming in the midwestern state.

A law colloquially known as the “ham and cheese law” was passed last year, exempting pork and dairy operations from the state’s longtime ban on corporate farming.

Supporters of the law said that it would bring more money to the state by boosting the two dwindling industries.

But opponents spoke up for family farming, arguing that local farms would not be able to compete with corporations who would have no stake in the local communities in which they would operate. The North Dakota Farmers Union unanimously voted to bring the legislature to referendum, just one week after it was passed.

More than 70% of voters Tuesday voted to overturn the law, keeping North Dakota free of corporate farms.

“The citizens of North Dakota do not support corporate farming and we should respect that,” Mark Watne, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union said Tuesday.

But those in favor of the law, including multiple republican senators, say that corporate farming would have helped the state’s pork and dairy industries, which are struggling without many other prospective solutions.

“The opponents defended the status quo and offered no solutions to help the swine and dairy industries in our state,” Senator Terry Wanzek, who farms himself, said Tuesday.

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