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 Tina Smith Announces Hearing Aimed at Improving Rural Housing Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C. [9/16/22] — Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) – Chair of the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development (HTCD) – announced she will be leading a hearing on rural housing programs. Members of the committee will hear from several stakeholders including Elizabeth Glidden, the Deputy Executive Director of the Minnesota Housing Partnership, about ways to improve the availability of rural housing, help keep rural seniors afford their homes, and reduce red tape for home owners and renters. The hearing will take place on September 20, 2022 at 2:30 pm ET. “Without access to housing nothing else in your life works. Not your job, your health, your education or your family,” said Senator Smith. “We know that the housing crisis is hurting communities across the country, with many families struggling to find a safe, affordable place to live. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about ways we can reform Rural Housing Service programs to serve more people and better meet the needs of families.” This is the second hearing Senator Smith has chaired aimed at improving rural housing programs. In May, the subcommittee heard from Xochitl Torres Small, Under Secretary for Rural Development, about which aspects of the USDA’s Rural Housing Service programs are functioning well and which areas should be changed or reformed. WHO: Elizabeth Glidden, Deputy Executive Director of the Minnesota Housing Partnership Marcia Erickson, CEO of GROW South Dakota Tonya Plummer, Director of Native American Housing Programs at Enterprise Community Partners David Battany, Executive Vice

Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce Funding to Strengthen Meat and Poultry Supply Chains

Washington, D.C. [09/14/22] – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN), announced that $400,000 in federal grants have been awarded to Minnesota meat producers as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program (MPIRG). The funding will help strengthen food supply chains, develop new market opportunities for meat and poultry processors, and generate economic opportunity for farmers in Minnesota. “I’m thrilled to see this grant program, created through my bipartisan RAMP-UP Act, is delivering for local meat processors across Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “These critical investments will help strengthen our food supply chain and expand opportunities for small meat processors, ensuring they can continue to thrive.” “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.” “The Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grants will help meat and poultry processors make necessary facility improvements, expand their businesses, and strengthen the nation’s food supply chain,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “These grants are one part of USDA’s Meat and Poultry Supply Chain initiatives and will contribute to our efforts to transform our food system.” “USDA continues to build capacity and increase economic opportunity for small and midsized meat and poultry producers across the country,” added Under

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

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

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