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John Scott: Choose Measure 1, kick over-regulation to the curb

In 1958, while hauling seed to Devils Lake from Gilby, N.D., I vividly remember the countless farms that dotted the countryside--the farms that kept so many families bustling with crops and livestock.

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In 1958, while hauling seed to Devils Lake from Gilby, N.D., I vividly remember the countless farms that dotted the countryside-the farms that kept so many families bustling with crops and livestock.

Today, that same drive offers fewer farms than a five-mile strip in the 1950s would warrant.

And it's not going to get better.

Our saving grace might very well be Measure 1, which North Dakotans will have the opportunity to support on Tuesday.

For years, our farms have been controlled by government-rendered farm programs, which have been to the benefit of only larger farmers by introducing an artificial price and leaving smaller family entities in the dust.

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The Conservation Reserve Program, wheat referendum, prevented-planting and other programs provided by the government all have contributed to the demise of small farms, because they were able to provide larger farms with incentive for stagnation.

Agriculture could have been, and could be, better without government interference.

At a time when we need change the most, Measure 1 will help bring our once-flourishing small farms back to their prime by giving them the opportunity to grow and expand without interference.

Family farms will have stock and will be able to share that stock among family members. As the farms continue to grow, so will the available stock options, which will give the smaller farms the opportunity to grow with their business.

Farmers should not be denied the privilege of incorporating.

Younger generations will begin to show interest in the industry, unlike so many who view the future of agriculture as a difficult-to-enter career with little incentive. Measure 1 will provide interested beginning farmers the ability to buy into the business with shares, increasing the amount of shares they own as time goes on and they are able to afford the shares.

Though Measure 1 might not have a hand in bringing new farmers to North Dakota, it certainly will help to preserve the farms the state still has and allow them to expand without complete government control.

Crop prices, which are said to mimic the lows of the 1980s or lower, are not the strongest aspect of the industry now. Instead, we must look to livestock, which the proposed legislation will help expand and grow.

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By voting yes, we will guarantee help for our struggling farmers and give hesitant farmers the opportunity they deserve to be a part of what will be North Dakota's finest hour - a profitable state that sets a precedent for others to follow.

Believe me, it's better to have the freedom than to allow government to meddle.

Scott is a retired farmer from Gilby, N.D. His family has maintained the John W. Scott Farm for more than 120 years; the farm now is in the hands of Scott's son, Jack.

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