At the Capitol: April 18-22
Each week during the Minnesota legislative session, the Minnesota Farm Bureau will highlight its work with elected officials to support our members and agriculture. While we advocate for our members on a wide variety of topics, our Board of Directors set six priority issues for the 2022 state legislative session, and our efforts to advance those issues are highlighted below.
Recap: Week of April 18-22, 2022
During the week, our public policy team and leadership were busy connecting with leaders outside of the capitol. Multiple visits throughout the week helped to connect policy influencers and decision makers directly to Minnesota agriculture, showcasing its impact on the state and national level.
MFBF hosted EPA Region 5 Ag Advisor Sharmin Syed to see Minnesota agriculture up close. In addition to holding meetings with stakeholders on current topics impacting farmers and ranchers, Sharmin visited a dairy farm, a corn and soybean farm and an ethanol plant. MFBF appreciates the opportunity to work with agency staff to make sure that farmers’ voices are heard and that they are able to experience first hand some of the issues they work on every day.
MFBF President Dan Glessing joined Senator Tina Smith, MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen and other commodity group leaders to discuss opportunities for the upcoming Farm Bill. Dan also updated the Senator on current issues impacting agriculture including the supply chain and labor shortages.
MFBF President Dan Glessing joined Representative Tom Emmer (MN-06) on his agriculture-focused telephone town hall. Dan served as the agricultural expert on the call to help answer questions and address concerns along with MinnStar Bank Senior Vice President Kent Thiesse.
At the capitol, the state legislature returned from Easter/Passover break to finish their work over the next month.
The drought relief conference committee met for the first time on Tuesday to resolve differences between the House and Senate bills (H.F. 3420 and S.F. 3479).
The House bill includes a $5.1 million total appropriation with a maximum of $10,000 available to each farmer. The Senate bill includes a $7 million appropriation with farmers able to receive up to $5,000 each. One of the biggest differences between the two bills is the House bill would allocate $13.3 million to the Department of Natural Resources for various programs. The Senate bill does not include any money to the DNR.
Click here for a recap of the hearing.
MFBF submitted comments urging the committee to find a solution quickly. Those comments can be found here.
Agricultural Omnibus Bills
Both the House and Senate have passed their agricultural bills out of the respective finance committees and are awaiting action in each chamber (S.F. 4019 and H.F. 4366). Both bills were also amended to include broadband provisions and the housing bills.
Environment and Natural Resources Omnibus Bills
Both the House and senate passed their own versions of the omnibus bills off of the floor. The House passed its version of the omnibus bill, 72–60, while the Senate passed 37-29. The House bill (H.F. 3765) includes more climate-focused projects than the Senate version (S.F. 4043).