On Monday, April 8, Senator Dornink was given a hearing for his meat and education training grants bill. These smaller funding bills will be combined into larger omnibus bills to be heard next week before the April 19th finance deadline. To pass legislation, the omnibus bills must be referred to the Finance or Ways and Means committees in each legislative body.

Looking to the future, the governor and legislature have agreed to a $4.5 million budget target for agriculture-related spending. This will include nitrate mitigation in southeast Minnesota, funding for the AGRI program, and possibly reauthorization of a few councils and task forces. MN Farm Bureau has been very supportive of AFREC and we hope to see its reauthorization for future years.

HF 3411 (Fischer)/SF 3719 (Putnam) - Minnesota Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council extension and agricultural fertilizer research and education account fee creation

MFBF Position: Support 

Bill Summary: The bill extends the Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) and its associated program, account, and fee collection to 2035. The AFREC program funds research, technology development, and education relating to soil fertility. It was established in 2008 and initially set to expire in 2017. In 2017, the legislature extended it to 2020, and in 2019, the legislature extended it to 2025.
 Impact on our Members and Agriculture: The council is a coalition of farm organizations that wish to research the ways farmers use fertilizers and help with soil fertility, water quality, and economic vitality.
 Action taken by MFBF: Verbal testimony by Jeff Pagel (District 1 Director) and Loren Dauer; notified legislators of our position

Status: Laid over in House Agriculture Committee on 4/11/24. Referred to Senate Finance Committee on 3/14/24.

HF XXXX (None)/SF 4069 (Dornink) - Meat cutting and butchery training grants appropriation.

MFBF Position: Support
Bill Summary: $375,000 to the commissioner of agriculture to provide grants to secondary career and technical education programs for the purpose of offering instruction in meat cutting and butchery.
Impact on our Members and Agriculture: Create opportunities for students to interact and understand meat cutting and future career opportunities in food processing.
Action taken by MFBF: Verbal testimony by Loren Dauer.

Status: Laid over in Senate Agriculture Committee on 4/8/24. Not heard in House.