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Dotzenrod, Goehring face off for ND agriculture commissioner

Jim Dotzenrod, candidate for North Dakota agriculture commissioner. Jenny Schlecht / Forum News Service1 / 2
Doug Goehring, a candidate for North Dakota agriculture commissioner. Jenny Schlecht / Forum News Service2 / 2

Both candidates on the ballot for North Dakota's agriculture commissioner have long histories in farming and public service.

Doug Goehring, a Republican who has served as agriculture commissioner since then-Gov. John Hoeven appointed him to the spot in 2009, will face Jim Dotzenrod, a Democrat and longtime state senator, in the Nov. 6 election.

Goering, of Bismarck, and Dotzenrod, of Wyndmere, both are row-crop farmers, and both men credit their sons for keeping the operations going while they pursue their political ambitions.

Goehring, 53, says he enjoys working with the agriculture industry to come up with solutions to problems. The diversity of agriculture in the state, where 54 commodities are grown commercially, makes the position of agriculture commissioner interesting and challenging, he says.

"You can really come up with some very novel, unique and common sense approaches to some of the challenges that we're experiencing," he says.

He also enjoys advocating for producers and the agriculture industry.

"You get a chance to tell the story where it needs to be told," he says.

Dotzenrod, 71, has been running on a platform of "more trade, less tariffs and support ethanol." He says federal policy decisions — including decisions that led to the current trade war — convinced him to run to give a voice to agriculture producers.

"I just wanted to be involved in trying to see if there was some way people involved in agriculture could speak up and push back and say what the effects were and try to come up with some alternatives or ways to deal with it," he says. "It has a lot to do with advocating for the producers."

The winner of the election will serve a four-year term. Agriculture commissioner serves on the North Dakota Industrial Commission, alongside the governor and the attorney general.


Jim Dotzenrod

Age: 71

City of residence: Wyndmere

Occupation: Farmer


Family: Two sons, Allen and Rudy.

Doug Goehring

Age: 53

City of residence: Bismarck

Occupation: Farmer/current agriculture commissioner


Family: Wife, Annette. Six children and eight grandchildren.