- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 16, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s biggest farm group says it has gathered enough signatures to force a referendum on the Legislature’s decision to loosen the state’s Depression-era ban against corporate farming.

North Dakota Farmers Union President Mark Watne made the announcement on Tuesday at the state Capitol in Bismarck.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed the legislation in March that exempts ailing pork and dairy operations from the state’s anti-corporate farming law.

Supporters needed to gather 13,452 valid signatures by Thursday to get the measure on the June 2016 ballot. Watne says the group turned in more than 21,000 signatures to Secretary of State Al Jaeger’s office.

Jaeger has 35 days to determine the validity of the signatures and decide whether to place the measure on the ballot.

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