Pride of Dakota holiday showcases announced

BISMARCK – Pride of Dakota holiday showcases begin next weekend in Grand Forks, with additional events planned in Minot, Fargo and Bismarck during the holiday season.

The Grand Forks event is set for Nov. 5-6 at the Alerus Center. More than 135 vendors – the most ever for the Grand Forks showcase – will be selling and sampling a wide variety of gifts, including foods and condiments, decorative items, books, jewelry and recordings,  Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said in a news release.

Holiday showcases are also scheduled for Nov. 12-13 in the State Fair Center, Minot; Nov. 18-20 in the Fargo Civic Auditorium, and Dec. 2-4 in the Bismarck Civic Center Exhibition Hall.

Showcase hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. A reusable shopping bag is included with the $2 adult admission. Shoppers who bring their own reusable bag pay $1 admission. Parking is free.

More than 500 North Dakota companies are Pride of Dakota members.

Dalrymple to appear on CNBC

BISMARCK-Gov Jack Dalrymple will discuss North Dakota’s economy on CNBC show “Squawk Box” Tuesday morning.

The governor will participate in a live interview from 7:40 to 8 a.m. CT, according to his schedule.

Dalrymple spokesman Jeff Zent said North Dakota is in a position not shared by many states.

“They really want to talk to the governor about what we’re doing right here: why we have a surplus, why we’re able to invest heavily in infrastructure and, at the same time, why we’re able to build our reserves,” Zent said.

Dalrymple will also emphasize that it’s not just oil driving the economy, but also agriculture, technology companies and other businesses, Zent said.

CNBC senior talent producer Lori Ann LaRocco said they decided to include Dalrymple on the show because of the economic track record of the state and the fiscal measures the Governor has enacted to grow the state’s economy.

Dalrymple will be on with Becky Quick and Joe Kernen to discuss his outlook on North Dakota’s economy going forward and how the historic floods have impacted the state, she said.

They will also discuss what head winds businesses are seeing and how the nation’s economy and regulatory landscape is shaping his economic plan, she said.

Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

I have a question for your column: In visiting a local drugstore in Fargo recently, I saw signs saying they could not honor the sales price for milk posted in their corporation’s national ad because North Dakota does not allow milk to be sold below a certain price.

I have also noticed coupons for some dairy items cannot be redeemed in North Dakota. What is the rationale behind these restrictions and how did they come into place?


Heather Mitzel


Thanks for writing! As far as milk not being sold below a certain price, here is some background on what North Dakota state law (4-18.1-07) says:

“The (North Dakota Milk Marketing) board shall establish for each marketing area the uniform minimum prices to be paid by processors to dairy farmers for raw milk …

“In establishing or changing minimum prices to be paid by processors to dairy farmers for raw milk in each marketing area, the board shall take into consideration the following factors applicable to such area: the available supply of raw milk, the adequacy of the reserve supply of raw milk available to processors, the balance between production and consumption, the cost of dairy feed, farm wage rates and such other factors as will effectuate the purposes and policies of this chapter.

“All such minimum prices must be those which will be beneficial to the public interest, protect the dairy farmers, and ensure an adequate supply of pure and wholesome milk to the inhabitants of the state.

“For each marketing area, the board shall establish minimum prices for each of the following classifications of sales:

a. Sales of milk products by processors or distributors to retailers. Such minimum price for each item is applicable regardless of the location at which the retailer accepts delivery.

b. Sales of milk products by any person to consumers.

“For any marketing area, the board may establish the minimum prices for each of the following classifications of sales:

a. Sales of milk products by processors to distributors.

b. Sales of frozen dairy products by a processor, distributor or retailer to any person.

c. Sales of milk products by a processor to another processor or by a distributor to another distributor.

d. Sales of milk products or frozen dairy products not otherwise provided for in subsections 2 and 3.

The state Ag Department referred me to John Weisgerber of the North Dakota Milk Marketing Board to further answer your question. Here’s what he said:

“The only coupons we’ve seen where there is some kind of a note on there (prohibiting use) are yogurt coupons.

“In the past, we heard that some of the yogurt companies will have North Dakota, Nevada and Louisiana (as states where coupons) are not accepted.

“Generally, those firms hire a law firm to research the different states.

“We’ve told them they (coupons) could be used. Somehow, when the message goes from the law firm that did the research to the company that’s printing the coupon, the information doesn’t get there right.”

“We’re working with those law firms that do the research to get the answer to the company or the marketing end of the company to get the correct information to them.”

In the meantime, Weisgerber said anyone with questions about dairy coupon use can call the North Dakota Milk Marketing Board at (701) 328-9588.

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

Deck garden July update

BISMARCK–Well, the deck garden is still doing fairly well, but I could use some advice on peppers.

Despite looking very promising, the peppers are not growing, which is surprising since they have always been the easiest thing for me to grow.

And, while I haven’t killed off the watermelon plant, it also hasn’t changed in size for at least a month.

But…everything else is doing quite well.

How is your gardening going?

Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

This is such a great service!

A couple of years ago, I was following a truck on the interstate that was wandering into the left lane occasionally. Not only was I worried about passing it, but I was also worried about the well-being of the driver.

I was able to get the “How’s my driving” number and enough identification of the truck to call the company. They were grateful for the call and followed up right away. The other day, I saw a car driving in the left lane and drifting well into the right lane about three times per mile, even when there was already a vehicle in that lane.

This time, all I had was a license number. My question is whether to call anyone about dangerous driving and, if so, who? 911 seems extreme since this may or may not be considered an emergency.


Ellen Chaffee


Thanks for writing! Here’s what Lt. Jody Skogen of the North Dakota Highway Patrol told me:

“Erratic driving can be caused by a multitude of different reasons. The driving characteristics described in this email appear to be more than just a temporary (lapse) of judgment by the driver.

“They created a risk to the occupants of that vehicle as well as others in the near vicinity. Calling 911 is appropriate when used to summon help. It would have been the appropriate course of action in this case.”

Dear readers,

I had room for another short question/answer this week, so I decided to ask a question that I’ve heard before: “Why do people set up bee colonies so close to roads? I would think this would be a sure way to kill off the bees.”

I contacted the state Ag Department. Here’s what Plant Industries Division Director Judy Carlson told me:

“Beekeepers haul bees to North Dakota from all over the country using semi trucks. They usually unload into a holding yard, which is usually close to paved highways. Soon, these bees are then dispersed to locations that are off the highways, close to or in alfalfa and sweet clover fields.

“This year is especially wet, and beekeepers are having difficulty moving the bee colonies without getting stuck or dumping the colonies. Some of their locations are flooded or too wet to get to them. We have over 10,000 registered locations in North Dakota.

“Unfortunately, there are some beekeepers that put bees close to highways, causing nuisances. When we receive complaints, we contact the beekeeper and encourage them to move the bees to a location further from the road. Bees will fly up to two miles for a nectar source.”

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

Local foods directory now available

BISMARCK–A guidebook for finding fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, jams and meats is now available from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

The 2011 edition of the North Dakota Local Foods Directory lists more than 160 local food providers, including farmers markets, roadside stands, pick-your-own gardens and home delivery produce operations, a news release from the Ag Department said.

Each listing includes the name of the operation, address, phone number, description of products offered, times of operation and contact persons.

“More people want fresh, high quality, locally grown food products, and producers are responding by offering new and different products,,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said in a statement. 

The directory also contains a harvest calendar to help consumers determine the best times of the growing season to buy locally-grown vegetables, fruits and bedding plants. Ron Smith, North Dakota State University Extension horticulturalist, developed the information for the calendar.

Free copies of the 2011 Local Food Directory can be obtained by contacting the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 602, Bismarck, ND 58505-0020; phone: (800) 242-7535; fax: (701) 328-4567; e-mail: Copies will also be available at libraries, local chambers of commerce and county extension offices.

Deck garden update

Last month, I shared my effort to go all out with my deck garden this year. Here’s how things stand so far:

Everything is coming along nicely, especially my celery. I had two flowers bite the dust, but I also had another bulb decide to come up. So, that was a bonus. I’ve also got another pot of flowers that got way too much water, so it’s looking sickly. But really, things are good overall at this point. Here are some pictures:

Latest bills signed by the governor

BISMARCK–Here’s what Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law last week:

1206: Western Area Water Supply Authority

1003: higher ed budget

1001: legislative budget

1002: judicial budget

1004: Health Department budget

1005: Indian Affairs Commission budget

1006: North Dakota Aeronautics Commission budget

1007: Veterans budget

1020: Extension Service, Northern Crops Institute, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, research centers budgets

1025: Comprehensive Tobacco Control Advisory Committee budget

1057: angel fund investment tax credit

2001: Governor’s Office budget

2002: Secretary of state’s budget

2005: State treasurer budget

2006: Tax commissioner budget

2007: Labor commissioner budget

2008: Public Service Commission budget

2009: Ag Department budget

2016: Adjutant general budget

2021: Workforce Safety and Insurance budget

2057: Commerce Department budget

Lawmakers finish Extension budget

BISMARCK–North Dakota lawmakers negotiating the Extension Service budget wrapped up their work on Monday.

House Bill 1020 provides $97 million overall in general funds and includes $9.5 million for the main research center greenhouse project.

Funding is provided for a State Board of Agricultural Research and Education initiative relating to livestock stewardship. Soil conservation and productivity funding is also included.

The conference committee nixed $200,000 for grape growing research grants and did not include funding for the agronomy laboratory capital project at the Carrington Research Center.

Sen. Bill Bowman, R-Bowman, said capital project money should be available next session for the agronomy labs in Hettinger, Carrington and Langdon.

Also absent from the budget is $830,000 to expand the Gearing Up for Kindergarten program to a statewide scope. Rep. Kathy Hawken, R-Fargo, fought for the funding but failed to gain enough support.

“To not think that an investment in our children is worth money and is a piece of research, I miss that,” she said.

Bowman said expanding Gearing Up for Kindergarten means fewer resources for agriculture research.

“That’s my highest priority is to get the research done,” he said.

The budget must now go to both chambers for review.

Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

I live in rural southeast North Dakota. Our township roads have been continuously under water for the last eight years. Many roads are already minimum maintenance. Our townships say they have no money to gravel or even keep the farm-to-market roads maintained. Many farmers are worried that they seriously will not be able to get to their fields this spring because of the roads.

What state resources do the township and counties have to be able to at least keep main roads built up and passable for today’s larger farm equipment? Apparently FEMA wasn’t the answer.

Renee Haseleu

Litchville, N.D.

Thanks for writing! Here’s what Jamie Olson from the state Department of Transportation said:

“State funding is distributed to each county through the state treasurer’s office. The county utilizes the funding to address a variety of needs in their area, which may include infrastructure projects such as water lines and roadways.

“Local residents should work with their applicable township officials and/or county commissioners to discuss available resources for local roads. State residents can access reports on funding at the state treasurer’s website”

North Dakota legislators also recently approved $60 million in one-time funding for the state’s non-oil producing counties in the Department of Transportation budget. Eighty percent is for cities and counties and 20 percent is for townships.

“It will be up to those respective entities to determine how they spend those dollars,” Olson said. “Again, local residents should work with their applicable township official to discuss what resources are available or may become available for local roads.”

I also talked to Sen. Terry Wanzek, R-Jamestown, who has an interest in this issue. He advises to keep your voice out there.

“Make sure your legislators and your commissioners are aware of your concerns or your issues regarding the roads,” he said.

The Legislature recently approved a study that will look at transportation infrastructure needs for county and township roads in the state. This will help legislators determine funding needs for the 2013 legislative session.

“I’m hoping we have a study in hand before we come back next time where we can enhance that $60 million and maybe even do more,” Wanzek said.

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, N.D. 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.