At the Capitol: May 15-19
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 2023 state legislative session, and our efforts to advance those issues are highlighted below.
Recap: Week of May 15 to May 19
Our public policy team and leadership has been connecting with elected officials and other policy influencers to share our member’s stories, and build relationships to reinforce our position as a leader in agriculture issues in Minnesota.
On Thursday, the Governor signed the Agriculture Finance omnibus bill into law at a farm in Finlayson, Minnesota. Our Public Policy Specialist Kaytlin Bemis was in attendance, along with Pine County member Arnie Nelson and Stearns County member Hannah Molitor. The bill spends $48 million above base funding for advancements in agriculture and invests $100 million into broadband.
MFBF is supportive of several funding provisions in the bill, including:
- Soil Health Grants;
- Biofuel Infrastructure;
- Meat Processing;
- Wolf-livestock Prevention Grants;
- Farm Business Management through AGREETT;
- International Trade Support;
- Agriculture Emergency Account; and
- Grain Indemnity Fund; funded at $10 million and the fee would click on when the fund reaches below $8 million.
Many of the policy provisions in the bill came out favorably, some of those provisions include:
- Modifications to the Board of Animal Health; This modifies the Board to six members, three of whom are livestock producers, three of whom are veterinarians specializing in companion animals and one tribal member specializing in animal husbandry;
- Provisions surrounding PFAS in pesticides; this wouldn’t come into effect until 2032;
- Repeal of prohibition on below cost sales of dairy products; and
- Nothing included on regulation of treated seed.
On Thursday, the House and Senate adopted the Conference Committee Report on HF2310, the Environment, Natural Resources, Environment and Climate omnibus bill, primarily along party lines. The bill is headed to the Governor’s desk for his signature.
MFBF worked with conference committee members throughout the last couple of weeks and both supports and opposes provisions in the outcome of this bill.
Provisions MFBF finds favorable in the bill:
- $21 million over the biennium for soil health grants to be administered through the Board of Water and Soil Resources, which would provide grants to local government units to purchase soil health equipment to lend to farmers for use to implement voluntary soil health practices on their farms; and
- The House bill included a provision which would ban an open season wolf hunt, which was not included in the final version of the bill.
Provisions MFBF finds unfavorable in the bill:
- Provisions surrounding treated seed; this provision will give MDA and MPCA joint rulemaking on usage and disposal of treated seed; and
- The Drainage Work Group will be required to come up with a report back to the legislature in February 2024 on an agreement on the drainage registry portal and treated seed.
- 5/16/23 Senator Tina Smith introduced S 1611, a bill to amend the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 to reauthorize the Community Connect Grant Program, and for other purposes
- 5/17/23 Rep Michelle Fischbach co-sponsored HR 3423, a bill amend the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 to preserve foreign markets for goods using common names, and for other purposes
- 5/17/23 Rep Angie Craig co-sponsored HR 3419, a bill to amend the Animal Health Protection Act to reauthorize Animal Disease Prevention and Management Programs
- 5/17/23 Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced S 1666, a bill to amend the Animal Health Protection Act to reauthorize Animal Disease Prevention and Management Programs
- 5/17/23 Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy Hearing- Rural Broadband: Connecting our Communities to the Digital Economy
- 5/17/23 House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Hearing- A Review of Animal Agriculture Stakeholder Perspectives
- 5/18/23 Senator Tina Smith co-sponsored S 1736, a bill to amend the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 reauthorize the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network
- 5/18/23 Senator Tina Smith co-sponsored S 1652, a bill amend the Agricultural Trade Act of 1978 to preserve foreign markets for goods using common names, and for other purposes