News release from the Dems about ag commissioner candidate Merle Boucher’s trip to Williston today:
Today Merle Boucher visited local agriculture processing plants and spoke with residents at Grandma Sharonâ€™s in Williston stressing the importance of both value-added agriculture and the need for agriculture and oil development to work hand in hand, not at odds.
Boucher toured local processing plants and was very impressed by the businesses. â€œWe need more processing in North Dakotaâ€”processing plants create jobs and the value added to the product stays here in the state instead of going to processers out of state.â€
He also spoke about oil development in the Williston area and how the state must work toward making production agriculture and energy development compatible.
â€œRecently I spent several days in the western parts of the state visiting with people in Stanley, Parshall, New Town, Watford City and Killdeer. What I heard from folks in my travels were quite troubling to me.â€
â€œI heard that many local farmers, ranchers, and citizens feel that their interests and needs are being pushed aside to move oil development forward.â€
â€œNone of the folks wanted to stop oil development. They simply were frustrated that their concerns were being ignored. They said their attempts to make their issues known to the State Industrial Commission were ignored.â€
â€œWe need to acknowledge that much of the oil drilling and development is happening on agricultural and privately-owned land. Communities where this is taking place were developed and built by several generations of local farm and ranch families, business owners, and workers. These people have paid taxes for several generations to build the local infrastructure that facilitate todayâ€™s development.â€
â€œThe land has blessed the people of North Dakota. From the land we have built a strong agricultural economy and from this same land we have the potential to do the same in the energy field. We need to work to make this happen in ways that are compatible and respectful to those who are here now and for future generations to come.â€