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Dread whatever grieves the Spirit of God.

- John Newton

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Gov. Doug Burgum joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue during his visit to Fargo today....

    FARGO, N.D. - Gov. Doug Burgum joined U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue during his visit to Fargo today, underscoring the importance of a strong farm bill and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for North Dakota's farmers and ranchers.

    After touring agricultural research facilities, Burgum, Perdue, Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Congressman Kevin Cramer and former U.S. agriculture secretary and North Dakota governor Ed Schafer attended a roundtable discussion with producers and commodity groups at a North Dakota State University Extension greenhouse facility, with NDSU President Dean Bresciani also in attendance.

    "We're grateful for Secretary Perdue's decision to visit North Dakota during his first year leading the USDA, and for the opportunity to discuss with him the potential impacts of NAFTA renegotiations and the upcoming farm bill," Burgum said. "We appreciate his approach of empowering states to solve problems through innovation, not regulation, which will allow our farmers to stay competitive in the 21st century economy."

    Recognizing that Canada is North Dakota's No. 1 trading partner, Burgum stressed the relevance of NAFTA but acknowledged that the agreement needs updating. North Dakota exported $4.4 billion, or 83 percent of its exports, to Canada last year. Additionally, the governor advocated for an updated farm bill, set to be debated in Congress later this year.

    "Our producers rely on strong crop insurance, disaster assistance, Price Loss Coverage and Agriculture Risk Coverage. Maintaining robust support for these programs in the farm bill gives our farmers and ranchers the confidence they need to continue feeding the world," he said.

    Today's meeting with Perdue is Burgum's fourth in the past year, as part of the governor's ongoing commitment to building and strengthening relationships with federal partners.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The last two fugitives in a Jamaican lottery scam that authorities say cost dozens of mostly elderly Americans millions of dollars have been captured in the Caribbean country. A Jamaican counter-terrorism and fugitive apprehension team arrested Mario Hines on Jan. 9 and Gareth Billings on Feb. 23.
     Authorities have sought the two men for years. They're among a group of 15 suspects who are still being prosecuted in North Dakota in what is believed to be the first large-scale Jamaican lottery scam tried in U.S. courts. Authorities say at least 90 Americans lost a total of more than $5.7 million.
     A federal investigation resulted in conspiracy, fraud and money laundering charges against 27 people. All have pleaded guilty or been convicted except Hines, Billings and one other suspect.

     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Game and Fish Department is accepting applications for elk, moose and bighorn sheep hunting licenses. Hunters can apply online or call 1-800-406-6409 through March 28.
     A record 334 moose licenses are available this year, up 89 from last year and 203 more than in 2015.
     A total of 408 elk licenses are available, up 19 from last year and the most since 2011.
     A bighorn sheep fall hunting season is tentatively scheduled, but it won't be finalized until after a summer population study. From two to eight licenses are usually issued in years when hunting is allowed.
     Elk, moose and bighorn sheep lottery licenses are once-in-a-lifetime licenses in North Dakota. Hunters who have received a license in the past aren't eligible to apply for that species again.


     GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - Olympic women's hockey standouts Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux got a hero's welcome in their hometown of Grand Forks yesterday.

    The twins helped the USA win the gold medal in South Korea. Monique scored the game-tying goal late in the third period of the gold-medal game against Canada, and Jocelyne scored the game-winner in the shootout with an impression deke of the goalie. She said she had practiced the move thousands of times in Grand Forks.

    They were welcomed home Thursday with a ceremony at Ralph Engelstad Arena attended by hundreds of people. Gov. Doug Burgum declared the day as Monique and Jocelyn Lamoureux Day in the state. The twins are the first gold medalists from North Dakota. Monique said it was a goal she worked toward her entire life.



   (Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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