NDFB Successful in Court Case Against Township Overreach

Bismarck, ND — North Dakota Farm Bureau has a long history of successfully fighting for the rights of North Dakota’s agricultural community. NDFB added another win to its resume in July, when it successfully challenged the validity of local township ordinances as yet another example of regulatory over-step.
In November of 2020, NDFB alleged Howes Township imposed setbacks greater than allowed by law and enforced requirements far beyond the scope of township authority. NDFB sought the help of a law firm in West Fargo, Ohnstad Twichell to win the case. This July, the Court agreed and sided with NDFB on each of their claims against Howes Township.
One section of the judgment states, “The township does not have the authority to regulate an animal feeding operation’s appearance, burden on streets, nor general compliance with the Township’s Comprehensive Plan.”
“Despite priding itself as an ag-friendly state, North Dakota lags far behind neighboring states when it comes to animal agriculture. Ordinances like those passed in Howes Township are a big part of the reason why,” said NDFB President Daryl Lies. “Unfortunately, overzealous regulation and red tape has become a preferred means of preventing farmers from diversifying to include animal agriculture.”
The ordinances struck down in Howes Township violated state law and represented a township’s attempt to exercise authority it doesn’t have.
“NDFB believes in responsible local control, but when a small group of people demonstrates an inability to use their authority within the confines of state law, something has to be done,” said Lies. “We hope the outcome in Howes Township is a wake-up call for other townships that may have similar problems. We want to work with townships, not against them.”
NDFB is the most effective general farm and ranch organization in the state of North Dakota, with more than 28,000 member families and 50 organized county Farm Bureaus.
A copy of the Judge’s order can be found here