Ag Author John Ikerd to speak in four ND cities May 17-19

Updated: May 12, 2016

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Sustainable Ag Author to Speak in Four Cities Ahead of June 14 Vote on Corporate Farming

BISMARCK, ND— Dakota Resource Council (DRC) will host world-renowned agricultural author and speaker Dr. John Ikerd on a four-city tour of North Dakota to highlight the impact of corporate farming on communities and economies like ours. Ikerd will present “Corporate Agriculture vs. Family Farms: A Battle for Hearts and Minds of the People” in Fargo on May 17, Grand Forks on May 18, and Rugby and Bismarck on May 19.

ikerd0422fhighrDr. Ikerd, who grew up on a small dairy farm, will be speaking on how the proposed repeal of North Dakota’s anti-corporate farming law is but one aspect of a far larger corporate political strategy to remove all impediments to corporate control of American agriculture.

“Traditional family farming has always been a way of life, not just a business that makes money for the family. On traditional family farms, the family and farm are inseparable – the farm reflects the social and ethical values of the family,” Ikerd said. “The large, publicly-traded corporations that increasingly control agriculture are purely economic entities that have no capacity for social or ethical values. While individual shareholders have social and ethical values, the only value they share in common is their desire to increase the return on their corporate investment.”

Last year, legislators decided to roll back an 84-year-old law preventing corporate farming in North Dakota. The people of North Dakota disagreed, with more then 20,000 people signing a referral petition to have their voices heard on this decision with the June 14 vote on Measure 1. At the same time, the hardworking and steadfast community of Buffalo, near Fargo, is fighting off a proposed 9,000-head hog factory farm right along I-94. Timing of the vote is crucial as Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring and his permitting staff could be making a decision on the permit for the proposed factory farm within days of the election.

Members of DRC believe farm ownership and agriculture production is best left in the hands of family farmers and ranchers.

“Men like my grandfather, understood the way to build strong communities was to ensure family farmers owned the land they worked and lived in the communities they served,” DRC member Jeri Lynn Bakken said. “They also understood that strong communities would build a strong state, where the people working the land would contribute to the economy and preserve the environment.”

All events are free and open to the public:

Tuesday, May 17 – FARGO
7 pm
Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ
901 Broadway N

Wednesday, May 18 – GRAND FORKS
7 pm
Gransberg Community Room, UND Gorecki Alumni Center
3501 University Ave

Thursday, May 19 – RUGBY
11:30 am*
Dakota Farms
308 3rd Ave SE
*Lunch buffet (freewill donation)

Thursday, May 19 – BISMARCK
7 pm
Meeting Room A, Bismarck Public Library
515 N 5th St


John was raised on a small dairy farm in southwest Missouri and received his BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri. He worked in private industry for a time and spent 30 years in various professorial positions at North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, University of Georgia, and the University of Missouri before retiring in early 2000. In 2014, John was invited by the UN to present on a report he authored, titled “North American Report for the International Year of the Family Farm.” Since retiring, he spends most of his time writing and speaking on issues related to sustainability with an emphasis on economics and agriculture. He currently resides in Fairfield, IA, with his wife, Ellen, two dogs, and two cats.

Ikerd is author of Essentials of Economic Sustainability, Sustainable Capitalism, A Return to Common Sense, Small Farms are Real Farms, Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture, and A Revolution of the Middle. All books are available through via More complete background information and a wide selection of writings are available at or