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. 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. Senator Tina Smith Introduces Bill to Cut Red Tape, Help Families Access Nutritious Food, and Expand Markets for Farmers
WASHINGTON, D.C. [7.26.23] – This week, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and U.S. Representative Hillary Scholten (D-MI 3) introduced bicameral legislation to make it easier for families to use nutrition assistance at farmers markets by helping farmers participate in federal nutrition programs. Small and independent farmers are often unable to sell directly to customers using USDA food assistance programs at farmers markets and roadside stands. This is due to burdensome application processes to become vendors for those nutrition programs and the lack of harmonized payment processing technology and equipment. The Enabling Farmers to Benefit from Processing Nutrition Programs Act would address these issues and make it easier for farmers to participate as authorized vendors under various nutrition programs. By doing so, it also provides an opportunity to bolster the dignity of nutrition program customers. “Every family should be able to get nutritious, affordable food. Small farmers and ranchers are the lifeblood of Minnesota’s ag economy. We should be doing everything we can to help small farmers to be able to sell their products to those families, particularly in their local area,” said Sen. Smith. “By cutting red tape and providing necessary technology and equipment, this bill will make it easier for them to accept nutrition program benefits, thereby tapping into that market, while simultaneously helping folks using federal nutrition programs to access healthy, local food at farmers markets.” “West Michigan is known for its incredible fresh produce, and today I introduced legislation to ensure even more of our neighbors have
Senator Smith, Grassley Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Research the Impact of Consolidation on Livestock Farmers and Ranchers
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), introduced bipartisan legislation to support research into the impact of livestock market consolidation on farmers, ranchers, and consumers in an effort to better understand the problem and craft effective solutions. “Just a handful of large companies have come to dominate the meat and poultry processing industry, which means higher prices for consumers and shrinking earnings for farmers,” said Sen. Smith. “This bipartisan bill would uncover the impact of this consolidation on farmers and consumers and help us create the best possible solutions to fix the problem. I look
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) re-introduced legislationto support farmers seeking to adopt conservation and innovative climate practices on their farms. The Conservation and Innovative Climate Partnership Act would bridge the divide between the innovative research taking place at land-grant universities and those who farm for a living by helping family farms adopt climate friendly strategies like planting cover crops and using no-till practices. “Strong farm programs that encourage sustainable conservation and climate practices help farmers maintain productive operations for generations to come,” said Senator Smith. “They also help us reduce greenhouse
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Chris Coons (D-DE), introduced bipartisan legislation to protect farmers in the event of animal disease outbreaks. The Safe American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would give the USDA clear authority to preemptively negotiate regionalization agreements for known animal disease threats, ultimately preventing unsafe agriculture exports from getting shipped around the globe and keeping trading markets open for American farmers with disease-free livestock. “I hear from Minnesota farmers all the time about the toll avian flu outbreaks have on families and the economy. Animal disease outbreaks can unnecessarily disrupt trade
Senator Tina Smith Joins Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Combat Mislabeling of Non-Dairy Products
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposed guidance last week allowing nut, oat, soy, and other non-dairy products to use the name “milk,” Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jim Risch (R-ID), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Peter Welch (D-VT) in introducing bipartisan legislation to combat the unfair practice of mislabeling non-dairy products using dairy names. The Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk, and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act (DAIRY PRIDE Act) of 2023 would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae to no longer