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 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

Senators Klobuchar, Smith, and Representative Craig Announce Deadline Extension for Enrollment in 2023 Dairy Margin Coverage Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/12/22] — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, and U.S. Representative Angie Craig (all D-MN) announced that the deadline for eligible farmers to enroll in the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) and Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage (SDMC) programs has been extended. Eligible producers will now have until January 31, 2023 to enroll in the program. These programs help dairy producers manage the volatility of milk and feed price disparities. “The Dairy Margin Coverage program helps provide Minnesota’s dairy farmers with important stability and risk management tools that benefit our rural communities,” said Klobuchar. “This extended sign-up period will allow additional time for dairy farmers to evaluate their eligibility and enroll. I encourage all dairy farmers to apply for the DMC program before January 31.” “During periods of price volatility, the Dairy Margin Coverage program is an important assurance for dairy farmers,” said Smith. “I encourage dairy farmers to take advantage of this extended sign-up period and enroll before the new January 31 deadline.” “Minnesota’s dairy farmers keep our state’s agricultural economy moving – and the Dairy Margin Coverage and Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage programs are critical to ensuring our farmers have the resources they need to keep their operations running smoothly,” said Craig. “I’m pleased to see the deadline extended for these essential programs – and encourage all Second District dairy farmers to enroll today.” Producers interested in enrolling in the DMC and SDMC programs must certify with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) that their operation commercially markets

Sen. Tina Smith Announces Up to $550 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding for Projects Supporting Underserved Producers, Career Development Opportunities for Next Generation of Agricultural Professionals

WASHINGTON, [9/7/22] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) announced up to $550 million in funding to support projects that enable underserved producers to access land, capital, and markets, and train the next, diverse generation of agricultural professionals. These investments are made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act, which Senator Smith helped pass earlier this year.  “Agriculture is the backbone of Minnesota’s diverse economy,” said Sen. Smith. “With food shortages, supply chain snags and a tight labor market around the world, it’s vital we support and grow our farming sector here at home. This funding, which is made possible

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Joins USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small for Visits to Wadena and Menahga

MINNEOSTA — U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small to visit Wadena and Menahga in Central Minnesota. Photo and video footage from the visits can be found here. They started the day in Wadena, where they toured ­Tri-County Health Care’s new $72 million project. Named Astera Health, this will be a new 125,900 square-foot facility designed to integrate new technology, create a healthy environment that improves the patient experience and efficiency for staff, and ensure a sustainable future for health care in the area. Tri-County Health Care received

U.S. Senator Smith and Rep. Emmer Introduce Legislation Investing in Ag’s Next Generation

WASHINGTON, D.C. [07/26/22] — U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced legislation investing in agriculture’s next generation. The Agriculture Skills Preparation for Industry Recruitment Efforts (ASPIRE) Act, which was introduced in the House by Representatives Tom Emmer (R-Minn.-06) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine-01), supports workforce development in the agriculture and farming sector.  Specifically, the ASPIRE Act establishes a work-based agriculture training program within the USDA’s existing Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program to fund participation in apprenticeship and internship programs with local agriculture businesses. “Agriculture is the backbone of Minnesota’s diverse economy,” said Sen. Smith. “With

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

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