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. Senator Tina Smith Leads Senate Agriculture Subcommittee Hearing on Expanding Opportunities for Beginning Farmers

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade, led a hearing focused on opportunities to support new and emerging farmers. According to the most recent Census of Agriculture, the average age of a producer in the United States is now 58, and in Minnesota it is 57. One of the witnesses who spoke at the hearing about challenges faced by beginning farmers was Tessa Parks, Minnesota native and owner and operator of W.T. Farms in Northfield. Tessa is a young, first-generation farmer of color who, along with her husband, raises Holstein steers and runs a haying service. “The average age of a producer in the United States is 58, and in Minnesota it’s 57. And of course, this number increases every year. That in a nutshell is why we need to invest in the next generation of farmers, so this country’s agriculture production continues to work,” said Senator Smith. “This is a matter of national security, food security, and the strength and vitality of rural America. Agriculture is a driving force in America’s economy.” “Though I am new to farming and several generations removed from the farm, my connection to and love for agriculture is strong,” said Tessa Parks, owner and operator of W.T. Farms in Northfield, MN. “But beginning farmers like me face significant barriers to entry into agriculture, including a farm safety net that favors larger and more established farms, barriers to accessing land and capital, climate change, and

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Chris Murphy Introduce Bill to Forgive Student Loan Debt for Beginning Farmers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) reintroduced the Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act, legislation to create a loan forgiveness program for beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women, veteran, and minority farmers. Student loan debt is a major hurdle for beginning farmers, and this legislation would incentivize farmers to enter—and stay—in the agricultural industry, and strengthen opportunities to grow successful businesses. The average age of a farmer in the United States is 58 years old. Smith and Murphy’s legislation will reduce barriers for young, diverse farmers hoping to take over as the current generation of farmers and producers begin to retire. “To keep Minnesota’s agriculture economy thriving, we need to continue to invest in the next generation of farmers as the average age of farmers keeps going up. There is more we can be doing to help future farmers fill their shoes,” said Senator Smith. “Student debt is one of the most significant challenges our young farmers and ranchers face. This legislation would help encourage a younger, more diverse workforce and help more people start and stay in farming.” “Connecticut farmers have always been the lifeblood of our rural communities, but starting and maintaining a new farm is increasingly unaffordable for young people who are often saddled with student loan debt and can’t afford to make additional investments necessary for success. By helping new farmers pay off their student loans, this legislation would pave the

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Announce Funding for Meat Processing Facility in Waseca

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, announced federal funding to increase the meat processing capacity of Morgan’s Meat Market LLC in Waseca. The grant funding will go towards adding a smokehouse and vacuum stuffer, which will increase worker safety, reduce cleaning time from 3 days to only 4 hours, and increase processing capacity while saving time. “Agriculture is key to our state’s economy and to stay ahead, we must continue investing in our farms and food businesses,” said Klobuchar. “This federal grant will go toward bolstering capacity, improving worker safety,

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

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

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