Where’s the beef plant?

Barry Borg

Valley City

Have you ever wondered why our state is the only state with a state-owned bank and a flour mill? Back in the early 1900s, farmers were at the mercy of Minneapolis millers and bankers. Farm prices were very low and banks were foreclosing on farmers at a very high rate. I have been told that my grandfather lost his farm three times!

Farms and small businesses got organized, and got the North Dakota Legislature to charter both the state bank and the mill and elevator. These ventures have been very successful.

Now, Gov. Doug Burgum is proposing a Teddy Roosevelt Library with $50 million of state money.

Before we do that, we need to see a complete report of the finances of the North Dakota Mill and Elevator, the Legacy Fund, the State School Lands Trust Fund, and especially the Bank of North Dakota, which I hear has a huge amount of money invested out of state – billions! That’s not what our bank was chartered for. It was chartered for farm loans and small business and possibly state projects.

I don’t oppose a Roosevelt library, but I oppose taking $50 million of state money to fund it! What this state really needs is a packing plant for North Dakota beef! This could be built with a loan from our state bank. Today, cull cows sell for 35 to 47 cents a pound. In today’s dollars, they are cheaper than they were in the Beef Crash of 1963 when they were 10 to 12 cents a pound!

North Dakota’s cattle industry is on its deathbed. We need a packing plant a whole lot more than we need a Teddy Roosevelt Library! What do you think?

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