Date: February 27, 2017
Agency: North Dakota Joint Information Center
BISMARCK, ND – The Dakota Access Pipeline protest has affected a variety of people and agencies within Morton County and the state of North Dakota. The North Dakota Department of Agriculture provides some of the costs that the agency and the farmers and ranchers it serves have incurred due to protest-related activities.
|Number of Morton County households affected by protest activities||544|
|Individual losses claimed by Morton County farmers and ranchers1||$15K-$20K|
|Livestock killed or missing||23|
|Number of hours Ag Dept. has spent on potentially pest-infested firewood2||200|
|Ag Dept. employee hours dedicated to pipeline protest-related activities3||700|
|Emotional and mental distress and anguish for rural families4||Widespread|
1 Losses include unharvested or delayed harvesting in fields, resulting in quality and yield losses, and grain unable to be hauled to market; custom harvesters refused to come into the area, causing delays, losses and financial impacts; increased costs were incurred by producers through extra compensation to get different custom harvesters or other custom help at a premium cost for working near the protest camps. Slaughtered, mutilated or missing livestock; cattle and calves moved closer to home earlier than usual, costing more in feed and management. Vandalized equipment and farmsteads; repairs and losses associated with cut and damaged fences. Hay unable to be moved for sale or consumption; farm equipment unable to be moved to harvest or hay; fuel to move heavy equipment, such as combines, home to the yard every night due to fear of vandalism if left in the field.
2 Firewood was brought to the protest camps from states under a quarantine and possibly infested with the pests emerald ash borer and gypsy moth. If the firewood contains those destructive pests, North Dakota forests could be decimated. The Department has spent at least 200 hours on this issue alone and anticipates an additional 6-10 day cleanup effort once grounds are accessible to try to prevent the spread of these pests into North Dakota come spring thaw.
Calls from concerned farmers/ranchers; time spent on various protest-related issues affecting agriculture, including: firewood, animal health, pesticides, emergency management, and consumer hotlines/public information. Disruption from protest activities inside and around the State Capitol building, which resulted in early dismissal, building lockdowns and overall distractions from regular responsibilities.
Families reported fear of leaving their homes and farmsteads; strangers taking photos or videotaping rural residents; vehicles and masked protestors playing chicken with local residents on county roads or shaking fists at them as they drive by; farmers and ranchers feeling they are in harm’s way and arming themselves; extra expenses incurred for security systems, gas money to go around roadblocks, families staying in Bismarck-Mandan hotels out of fear for their own personal safety; rural route buses escorted to schools by law enforcement.