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.

She also believes it’s important to invest more in Greater Minnesota, and from her leadership post on the Rural Development and Energy Subcommittee, will keep working to expand access to broadband and better infrastructure. Thousands of Minnesotans are employed in the ethanol and biodiesel industry, selling corn and soybeans to biofuel facilities boosts the incomes of farmers around the state. Biofuels are good for energy security, for our environment, and for our economy, which is why Sen. Smith will advocate for a strong Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program.

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

Latest Releases

U.S. Senator Smith and Rep. Emmer Introduce Legislation Investing in Ag’s Next Generation

WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/26/22] — U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced legislation investing in agriculture’s next generation. The Agriculture Skills Preparation for Industry Recruitment Efforts (ASPIRE) Act, which was introduced in the House by Representatives Tom Emmer (R-Minn.-06) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine-01), supports workforce development in the agriculture and farming sector.  Specifically, the ASPIRE Act establishes a work-based agriculture training program within the USDA’s existing Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program to fund participation in apprenticeship and internship programs with local agriculture businesses. “Agriculture is the backbone of Minnesota’s diverse economy,” said Sen. Smith. “With food shortages, supply chain snags and a tight labor market around the world, it’s vital we support and grow our farming sector here at home. This legislation will provide work-based training programs to support a new generation of farmers and ranchers in Minnesota and around the country.” “The strength of our nation’s food security rests on the shoulders of the hardworking men and women of our ag community. Unfortunately, this industry faces an aging workforce coupled with endemic labor shortages,” said Rep. Emmer. “We are proud to lead this effort, which will provide hands-on experience and invest existing funds in our next generation of producers.” “As the average age of U.S. farmers continues to rise, and more of our nation’s farmers near retirement, it is crucial that Congress work to support a new generation of farmers and ranchers,” said Rep. Pingree. “That’s why I am co-leading the bipartisan ASPIRE Act

Sen. Smith Announces USDA Funding to Bolster Food Supply Chain Resilience

WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/13/22] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing over $14 million to support agricultural workforce training in historically underserved communities across the country. This investment is a result of funding in the American Rescue Plan to strengthen the nation’s food supply chain by promoting fair and competitive agricultural markets. “Underserved communities in Minnesota and across the country, often those in rural areas, are most severely impacted by interruptions in the food supply chain,” said Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee. “Investing in agricultural education is key to ensuring that the next generation of workers has the tools to make the food supply system more resilient in the long term. I’m thrilled to announce the availability of this critical funding made possible by the American Rescue Plan and I encourage all eligible institutions in Minnesota to apply for this assistance as soon as possible.” “These investments provide critical support to our higher education partners to increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved agricultural communities,” said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics and USDA’s Chief Scientist. “Food insecurity and food system interruptions have hit underserved communities hardest during the ongoing pandemic. By investing in education and workforce development at these institutions, we are training the workforce of the future to develop long-lasting solutions to these and other critical agricultural issues facing our nation.” Funding is available through the USDA National

Klobuchar, Smith Lead Minnesota Delegation In Requesting Aid for Farmers Impacted by Storms

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, led the entire Minnesota Congressional delegation in urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide federal assistance for Minnesota farmers and communities impacted by storms and natural disasters this spring harvest. The lawmakers offered their support for Governor Tim Walz’s request for a Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator’s Physical Loss Notice (APLN) to assist farmers that are recovering from historically adverse weather conditions this spring.  “Weather conditions in our state this spring have been historically cold and wet…

Klobuchar, Smith Announce USDA Disaster Assistance for Impacted Commodity and Specialty Crop Producers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing $418 million in emergency relief payment for Minnesota commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. The relief assistance, offered through the Farm Service Agency (FSA)’s new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) is intended to help impacted producers offset crop yields and value losses. “Recent natural disasters  – including last year’s extreme drought and wildfires – have created enormous challenges for our state’s farmers,” said Klobuchar. “These resources will be a

Sens. Klobuchar, Smith Announce Expanded Potato Export Opportunities to Mexico

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced that the United States has significantly expanded opportunities for potato exports to Mexico after 15 years of negotiations. The development comes after the two countries reached an agreement following a letter from Senators Klobuchar, Smith, and several of their colleagues pressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work with their Mexican counterparts to honor a trade deal expanding American potato access into Mexico.   The U.S. potato industry estimates this increased access to Mexico will provide a market potential of approximately $200 million per year. This represents an increase of $150

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and Rep. Angie Craig Announce Appointees to the Minnesota Farm Service Agency State Committee

WASHINGTON [5.11.22] – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, and U.S. Representative Angie Craig (all D-MN) announced appointees who will serve on the Minnesota USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) state committee. Each FSA state committee is comprised of three to five members, including a designated chairperson. The individuals appointed to serve on this committee for Minnesota are: Committee Chair Eunice Biel – Harmony Hannah Bernhardt – Finlayson Kurt Blomgren – Butterfield Lisa Brunner – Mahnomen Tim Velde – Granite Falls “The FSA State Committee plays a critical role in making sure farmers and ranchers across the state can access and benefit

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