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 Reintroduces Bill to Forgive Student Loan Debt for Beginning Farmers

WASHINGTON [12/20/22] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, helped reintroduce legislation she co-sponsors to create a loan forgiveness program for beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women, veteran, and minority farmers. The Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act, which is led by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and also cosponsored by Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), would serve as an incentive for farmers to enter – and stay – in the agricultural industry and boost opportunities to grow successful businesses. “Agriculture is the backbone of Minnesota’s diverse economy. But the average age of our workforce is getting older, and we need to be doing more to help the next generation fill their shoes,” said Smith. “Student debt is a major hurdle for younger and beginning farmers. This legislation would help incentivize a younger, more diverse workforce and help more people start and stay in farming. I’ll keep working to get this bill across the finish line.” “The Student Loan Forgiveness for Farmers and Ranchers Act provides a path out of debt for many young and beginning farmers who haven’t been able to see one before. Held back by existing debt making financing complicated– on top of climate crisis, input, and living costs– passing this act will open the possibility of becoming a full-time farmer and/or rancher to many who would be, but for having repayment of existing loans in their way. National Young Farmers Coalition supports Senator

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Significant Investment to Help Minnesota Veterans Pursue Careers in Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/19/22] — U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced $750,000 in federal funding to support training, mentorship and other opportunities for veterans looking to transition into agricultural careers. The investments will create jobs and strengthen Minnesota’s agricultural workforce by providing hands-on training and mentorship for veterans pursuing opportunities in agriculture and agribusiness. “The men and women who serve our country deserve our utmost respect. That means when they come home, they get the benefits and care they earned and have the opportunities and training they need to pursue good jobs,” said Sen. Smith. “This funding will help connect Minnesota veterans with the hands-on training and assistance they need to transition into agricultural careers. I will continue working to ensure our veterans get the support and training they need to find good-paying careers when they come home.” The investment, which will support the AgVets program in Little Falls Minnesota, is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Support Military Veteran Agriculture Training Program. The program supports the development of training opportunities specifically designed for military veterans. AgVets projects offer hands-on training and classroom education, which helps veterans build a comprehensive understanding of successful farm and ranch operations and management practices. The program also connects veterans interested in pursuing a career in agriculture with mentoring and other resources. Senator Smith has advocated for veterans and strengthening Minnesota’s agricultural workforce since coming to the Senate. As part of the 2018 Farm Bill, Smith secured provisions

U.S. Senators Klobuchar, Smith and Representative Craig Announce Minnesota Dairy Producers Can Sign Up for Improved Dairy Margin Coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C. [10/24/2022] – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and U.S. Representative Angie Craig (all D-MN) announced that Minnesota dairy producers are eligible to sign up for the 2023 Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program, an important safety net program that helps producers manage changes in milk and feed prices. The lawmakers encourage producers to sign up at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office by Dec. 7, 2022. “The Dairy Margin Coverage program helps provide Minnesota’s dairy farmers with important stability and risk management tools that benefit our rural communities,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “ I encourage all dairy farmers

Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce Historic Investment in Minnesota Climate-Smart Commodities and Rural Projects

WASHINGTON [9.27.22] – Today, Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced historic federal funding that will expand climate-friendly agriculture in Minnesota and around the country. “Our farmers and agricultural communities are critical to our state economy,” said Klobuchar. “These investments will help create new markets for our agricultural products and encourage voluntary farming practices that help protect our environment.” “From educational institutions to Fortune 500 companies and producer groups to technology startups, a broad range of Minnesota organizations are at the cutting edge of research into climate-smart agriculture,” said Sen. Smith. “These investments will accelerate the growth of

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

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

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