This week, the legislature passed off both floors the agriculture finance omnibus bill which was tied in a larger omnibus with the energy and commerce committees’ provisions. The agricultural provisions were mainly bipartisan and no amendments were offered in the Senate.   The House version still has some differences which will be worked out through a conference committee next week. After a conference committee report is finalized, the report must be passed through both chambers again before May 20th, the end of the legislative session.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors met with the Governor and several legislators to voice key priorities for the end of session. Key members included Senator Frentz, Senator Weber, Senator Putnam, Senator Westrom, Representative Anderson, and Representative Torkelson. We also met with senior advisors to the Speaker and Majority Leaders’ offices. Based off our conversations, there is a strong understanding of how valuable agriculture is in our state and there will continue to be support from the legislature in a bipartisan fashion.

Bills of Note:
HF 4975 (Acomb)/SF 4942 (Frentz) - Omnibus Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Utilities, Environment and Climate supplemental appropriations.

MFBF Position: Support Senate version; oppose House version.

Bill Summary: The bill is a combined finance omnibus bill containing three component bills from the Agriculture, Broadband, and Rural Development finance omnibus bill, the Commerce and Consumer Protection finance omnibus bill, and the Energy, Utilities, Environment, and Climate finance omnibus bill.

Impact on our Members and Agriculture: The supplemental agriculture budget is primarily focused on addressing some of the nitrate runoff issues in southeast Minnesota. More than half of the bill’s budget is going to reverse osmosis filters, soil health equipment grants, repairing and replacing wells, and programs that focus on nitrate treatment. The rest of the budget is for smaller onetime grant appropriations and future funding of the AGRI program.

Action taken by MFBF: Verbal testimony on several provisions in this bill. Notified key legislators on our support and opposition to certain provisions in the bill.

Status: Passed House 68-59 on 5/10/24. Passed Senate 36-30 on 5/6/24. Conference committee will convene to work out differences.