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.
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 support agriculture and conservation efforts in our state.” “Climate friendly farming and land use practices are a win-win for Minnesota’s environment and ag economy,” said Smith. “These Climate-Smart programs are a creative way to combat the climate crisis while boosting rural economies and generating opportunity for farmers. I worked hard to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which made these investments possible.” Through CRP, farmers and ranchers establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat on cropland. In return, participants receive rental payments and cost-share assistance. Farmers and ranchers who participate in CRP help provide numerous benefits to their local environment and economy. Throughout her time in Congress, Senator Smith has lead efforts to create and expand conservation programs, including CRP. In 2020, Senator Smith successfully pushed the USDA to increase CRP incentive payments and help more producers participate.
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 to federal programs. Earlier this year, the Commission released its first report, which included a number of recommendations. The Ensuring Accountability for Equity at USDA Act would make two of the recommendations law. “We have to acknowledge that the USDA has a history of institutionalized discrimination against farmers of color. That is the history and we cannot shy away from it,” said Sen. Smith. “I’m glad to see the recommendations outlined in the Equity Commission’s report and will work to make sure they are implemented through this legislation.” “Whether it’s farm program assistance or natural disaster relief, our federal agencies and their programs should be accessible to all Americans,” said Sen. Luján. “I’m proud to introduce the Ensuring Accountability for Equity at USDA Act to hold the USDA accountable by removing barriers to underserved communities and ensure equity across all USDA agencies and their programs. It’s critical to implement transparency
U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Todd Young Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Farmers, Combat Climate Change
WASHINGTON, D.C. [7.11.23] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced bipartisan legislation that will help combat climate change and improve agricultural resilience and productivity. Experts estimate that American farmers could store up to 220 billion pounds of carbon annually across all US croplands. The Advancing Research on Agricultural Climate Impacts Act will bolster our understanding of soil carbon sequestration and help farmers enhance soil health, make their operations more resilient, and combat climate change. “Farmers in Minnesota don’t need to be told climate change is happening, they see it every year in the form of
WASHINGTON, D.C. [6.16.23] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the Department to continue allowing non-fat and low-fat flavored milk in schools. The letter is in response to a proposed rule from the USDA that could limit flavored milk options in schools. However, school nutritionists have reported that dairy in the school meals is often the only or one of the only ways that many children consume nutrients like calcium and protein. “Each day during the academic year, over 15.5 million kids receive
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined Senators John Thune (R-SD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) in introducing bipartisan legislation to protect American food products from unfair trade practices by foreign countries. Common food and drink names such as parmesan, asiago, romano, and bologna are used around the world to describe products to consumers. However, due to geographic indication to European locations, the European Union has begun using economic and political influence to implement unfair trade practices under the guise of protecting geographic indicators. These unfair trade practices have the potential to block United States
Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce New Regional Food Business Center to Support Farmers in Minnesota
WASHINGTON [5.10.23] – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced the creation of a new Regional Food Business Center in Minnesota that will help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources. The new center, which will be located in Staples, MN, is made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which Klobuchar and Smith helped pass. “Our farmers are an essential part of the fabric of our state. We need to make sure they have the necessary resources to continue to feed and fuel the world,” said Klobuchar.