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

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… Two separate storms in recent weeks produced heavy rains, straight-line winds, and tornados that damaged barns and silos and left many residents without power,” the lawmakers wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “These natural disaster events have delayed many farmers from getting into their fields. The most recent National Agricultural Statistics Service crop report for Minnesota indicated that completed plantings for corn (35 percent), soybeans (11 percent), wheat (5 percent), and sugarbeets (8 percent) have all lagged significantly behind last year and the 5-year average.” “We urge you to grant the state’s request for an APLN declaration to provide financial support for farmers and communities that are struggling with difficult weather conditions this spring,” the lawmakers continued.  In addition to Klobuchar and Smith, the letter was signed by Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN), Dean Phillips (D-MN), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Michelle Fischbach (R-MN), and Pete Stauber (R-MN). The

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 critical step toward making sure that producers who suffered losses can continue to recover, and I encourage all eligible producers to work with their local FSA county office to apply. As recent storms have caused further damage and crop losses, I will continue working to ensure that Minnesotans have access to much needed relief.” “Widespread drought, wildfires and other climate-fueled extreme weather continues to strain farmers in Minnesota and around the country,” said Smith. “These disasters have challenged farmers in Minnesota and hurt our state’s economy.  I encourage anyone who suffered losses in 2021 and 2020 as a result of natural disasters to contact your local FSA office and apply for this assistance as soon as possible.” ERP covers losses to crops due to qualifying natural disasters, including wildfires, drought and smoke exposure, in 2020 and 2021.  All crops where crop insurance or NAP coverage was available are eligible, except for crops

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

Klobuchar, Smith Announce Federal Funding to Strengthen Local Meat Processing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $2.9 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan to strengthen local meat processing in Central Minnesota. Specifically, the funding grants will help provide mobile meat slaughtering and processing equipment for students enrolled in meat processing career pathways at Central Lakes College and Ridgewater College.  “A healthy meat processing industry is critical to the economic success of Central Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “By giving students access to valuable resources and training, this grant will help

Klobuchar, Smith Urge U.S. Department of Agriculture to Help Minnesota Farmers Respond to Avian Flu Outbreak

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) helps Minnesota farmers respond to the recent avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak. “We write with concern about the rapid spread of the H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus that has been confirmed in 19 commercial turkey flocks and 2 backyard flocks in 11 counties across Minnesota, already killing over a million birds,” the lawmakers wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “As the number

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