Agriculture

Sen. Smith fought for a spot on the Senate Agriculture Committee because ag is the backbone of Minnesota’s economy.

All Minnesotans are impacted by the Farm Bill, and Sen. Smith heard from Minnesotans with backgrounds in farming, rural development, rural health, and nutrition to make sure that all voices were reflected in the final 5-year bill that passed in 2018. That legislation included many provisions that Sen. Smith authored and championed, including improvement to the dairy safety-net program, the legislative roadmap for the energy title, and improvement to USDA conservation programs. It also included many provisions that benefit Minnesota’s native communities and new American communities, like permanent funding for beginning and traditionally under-served farmer outreach programs.

Sen. Smith understands that it’s been a very difficult few years for agriculture, and she believes that the federal government should be giving farmers more support. She’s heard from farmers about the high cost of health care, including access to health care providers and access to mental health care resources, which is why Senator Smith championed the creation of the rural health liaison at the USDA as well as funding for local mental health resources and to expand access to stress reduction and suicide prevention programs.

As Chair of the Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade she will advocate for provisions that benefit Minnesota farmers and use the platform to promote the importance of agriculture exports, which account for over 1/3 of Minnesota’s total exports. Additionally, she will push for more open foreign markets and strong crop insurance and commodity programs that help farmers in Minnesota and around the country manage uncertainties in the market.

You can learn more about Senator Smith’s efforts to make economic development in rural America a priority here.

Latest Releases

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Announce USDA Partnership to Expand, Bolster Minnesota’s Food Supply Chain

WASHINGTON [2/7/2024] – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced federal funding to strengthen the middle portions of Minnesota’s food supply chain. These funds will help small farms and small food businesses access more customers and help consumers find more locally-grown goods – oftentimes at lower cost. The funding is made possible through the American Rescue Plan, legislation both Klobuchar and Smith supported.  “To keep prices low at the grocery store, we need to invest in our food supply chain to make it resilient from disruptions and bottlenecks,” said Klobuchar. “These grants will strengthen the infrastructure needed to bring food from farm to table, support farmers as they expand into new markets, and deliver technical skills training for local food businesses.” “Farmers in Minnesota know firsthand the vulnerabilities of our food supply chain and the importance of making it more resilient in the long term,” said Smith. “This funding will help strengthen our food supply system and also expand opportunity for farmers in Minnesota and around the country by creating new and better markets for their products.”  This funding is one of many actions taken under the Biden Administration to expand processing capacity and increase competition in agriculture, making markets more accessible, fair, competitive and resilient for producers.   The four-year partnership between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Agriculture will bolster the middle of Minnesota’s food supply chain, meaning more opportunities for producers to sell their goods, better infrastructure for food businesses to operate with, and

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Applauds Senate Passage of Her Bipartisan Amendment to Improve Farm Service Agency Staffing to Better Serve Farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) celebrated the Senate passage of her bipartisan amendment to improve staffing at local USDA offices, which are often the first point of contact for farmers looking to make use of federal services. Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offices are critically under-staffed and too often unable to meet the needs of farmers. This bipartisan amendment, which is co-led by Senator Pete Ricketts (R-NE), and cosponsored by Senator John Fetterman (D-PA), Senator Katie Britt (R-AL), and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), would help improve staffing at these local offices and improve customer service, particularly in rural areas. “FSA and NRCS offices are critical resources for farmers in Minnesota and across the country,” said Senator Smith. “These offices are often the first point of contact for farmers looking for capital to expand their operations or purchase equipment. Unfortunately, these offices have been severely understaffed, which hurts their ability to provide important services. This amendment would help develop a plan to improve staffing and provide recommendations to Congress so that we can address this issue. I’m glad to see it pass the Senate and will continue working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get it signed into law.” “The staff in county offices provide critical support to family farmers who are navigating federal programs,” said Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Gary Wertish. “Unfortunately, staffing is an ongoing challenge which has consequences for farmers who are trying to utilize farm safety net programs

U.S. Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce Significant Federal Funding to Support Conservation and Climate-Smart Agriculture

WASHINGTON, [10.25.23] – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced over $150 million in new funding for climate-smart agricultural and conservation programs in Minnesota. The investments are part of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which offers payments and other incentives to address climate change and achieve natural resource benefits. “The Conservation Reserve Program helps equip our farmers with the tools to conserve and improve soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat. And Minnesota farmers and landowners’ participation rates are among the highest in the country,” said Klobuchar. “This critical funding will not only increase economic opportunities but will

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Introduces Bill to Root Out Discrimination and Increase Accountability For USDA Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7.27.23] – This week, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) introduced legislation to root out discrimination and increase accountability within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the important programs under its purview. A companion bill is being led in the House of Representatives by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN). The USDA Equity Commission was authorized under the American Rescue Plan and Inflation Reduction Act with the intention of addressing systemic discrimination within USDA programs. The agency has a documented history of discriminatory practices against black farmers and farmers of color, denying them loans and access

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Introduces Bill to Cut Red Tape, Help Families Access Nutritious Food, and Expand Markets for Farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7.26.23] – This week, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and U.S. Representative Hillary Scholten (D-MI 3) introduced bicameral legislation to make it easier for families to use nutrition assistance at farmers markets by helping farmers participate in federal nutrition programs. Small and independent farmers are often unable to sell directly to customers using USDA food assistance programs at farmers markets and roadside stands. This is due to burdensome application processes to become vendors for those nutrition programs and the lack of harmonized payment processing technology and equipment. The Enabling Farmers to Benefit from Processing Nutrition Programs Act would

With Farm Bill on the Horizon, U.S. Senator Tina Smith Introduces Slate of Legislation to Help Farmers and Address Workforce Shortages

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7.20.23] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) introduced legislation to help address workforce shortages in farming and boost economic growth and development in rural communities. The bills are set to be included as part of this year’s Farm Bill, a package of legislation passed every five years that is critically important for farmers, rural communities, and the environment. Specifically, Smith’s legislation will help increase access to capital for under-served farmers, boost training and economic opportunity for beginner farmers, and help make land more affordable for historically disadvantaged farmers.  “The Farm Bill touches the lives of virtually every

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