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11-24 Letters to the Tribune

By Staff | Nov 21, 2018

Farm Bill passage would provide assurance to farmers, eaters

We write as family farmers to encourage the passage of the Farm Bill in the current “lame duck” session of Congress. Though the farming part of the Farm Bill is important to our work, we also believe that it is important to pass a bill that protects and strengthens SNAP-formerly known as food stamps.

We work hard and know that there are people out there who also work hard, sometimes at jobs that do not pay a wage that allows them to meet all their expenses and put food on the table. We know that there are seniors who worked hard throughout their lives, but live on limited, fixed incomes and cannot put food on their tables. We know that there are children who do not yet work a job, but we think it’s important that their families have enough food on their tables for them all to have their “daily bread”.

There is time for Congress to pass a Farm Bill before the year is out, and we urge our Congressional delegation of Senators Heitkamp and Hoeven and Congressman Cramer to get it done. Waiting until next year will make it harder for us to plan financially and plot our spring planting.

Please provide those of us who farm and all who eat with some peace of mind in this season as we pause to give thanks and count our blessings. The certainty provided by passing a broad, bipartisan Farm Bill would give us a blessing to count, and a blessing to share with the families who struggle to put food on their tables this holiday season and other seasons throughout the year.

Sheila & Tim Ostrem,


Task Force for Higher Education Governance

As a member of the Task Force for Higher Education Governance, I would like to share some insight into the process that was used to develop the three-board governance model proposal.

Unanimously, the 15-member Task Force agreed that a change in higher education governance in North Dakota was needed, whether it be substantial changes to the current one-board model, or something significantly different. The members of the Task Force were given the charge of “coming up with something significantly different.” We developed six goals. We wanted the proposed governance model to allow each campus to be nimble, partnership oriented and cost conscious. We also wanted to encourage innovation, allow for institutional autonomy and require accountability.

After many months of sincere study and deliberation, the members came to a consensus on November 13. As current student enrollment in the 11-campus system is divided into 40 percent (18,239) at the nine community and regional institutions, 30 percent (13,847) at UND and 30 percent (13,796) at NDSU, the three-board model allows for a balance of size. It was important to me as a faculty member of a regional institution as well as the president of the statewide Council of College Faculties, that one board not control 60 percent of the total North Dakota student body as well as the lion’s share of funding.

A power balance seemed necessary. UND, NDSU and the remaining institutions would, if this new model were adopted, have boards that are closer to and more understanding of each campus’s mission, student, workforce and community needs.

Debora Dragseth, Ph.D.

Professor of Business

President of the Council of College Faculties

Dickinson State University

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