The Minnesota House of Representatives passed its Agriculture budget bill last week, as the legislation funds the operations of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Board of Animal Health, and the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute. Additionally, the bill makes new investments in high-speed broadband across the state. Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko), chair of the House Agriculture Committee talked about the benefits of the bill from St. Paul….
The legislation includes funding for an Emerging Farmer Office at the MDA, Farmland Access Teams, and Urban Youth Agriculture. The bill also requires the MDA to help farmers finance new cooperatives that process or market agricultural products or services, and it will also invest $30 million over the next two years for the state Border to Border Broadband Grant Program.
Supporters of the legislation also stated that the bill includes a series of other investments and policy provisions to strengthen agriculture in Minnesota, including mental health outreach and funding to continue operation of Minnesota’s Farmer and Rural Helpline, funding for pesticide education, equipment, and additional staff to ensure that lakes, rivers, and drinking water sources have safe pesticide levels using new revenue from a small fee increase on pesticide sales, farm safety grants and grants toward milk and protein for purchases by Second Harvest Heartland