The farm bureau needs to collect just under 27,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot in June or November 2012.
Doyle Johannes has worked land near the Missouri River in central North Dakota for 35 years, raising everything from corn to cattle. He's not about to let someone from outside the state's borders tell him how to go about his business.
Johannes and other farmers took notice last year when the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) pushed a ballot proposal to abolish fenced hunting preserves. They've also followed efforts to pass animal welfare laws in other states, and they don't want any unreasonable rules in North Dakota.
Johannes, who farms with family members near Underwood, is one of the backers of an effort to enshrine the right to farm and ranch in the constitution of the state that leads the nation in the production of a dozen crops - from wheat and barley to navy beans and honey. Officials say if North Dakota farmers succeed, it could prompt similar actions in other states.