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

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. 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 by the American Rescue Plan, will help underserved producers access land, capital, and markets while supporting career development opportunities for the next generation of farmers in Minnesota and around the country.” The American Rescue Plan directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help ensure underserved producers have the resources, tools, programs, and technical support they need to succeed. As part of this mandate, the USDA will set up an independent Equity Commission to help underserved groups access USDA programs and services and direct resources to partner organizations working to help achieve these goals. Of the $550 million in funding, $300 million will be used for Increasing Land, Capital and Market Access projects aimed at helping underserved producers. The deadline for partner organizations to apply for this funding is October 28, 2022. Additionally, $250 million will go towards the Learning to Leading program, which creates career development opportunities for the

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith and Rep. Angie Craig Announce Appointees to the Minnesota Farm Service Agency State Committee

WASHINGTON [5.11.22] – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith, and U.S. Representative Angie Craig (all D-MN) announced appointees who will serve on the Minnesota USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) state committee. Each FSA state committee is comprised of three to five members, including a designated chairperson. The individuals appointed to serve on this committee for Minnesota are: Committee Chair Eunice Biel – Harmony Hannah Bernhardt – Finlayson Kurt Blomgren – Butterfield Lisa Brunner – Mahnomen Tim Velde – Granite Falls “The FSA State Committee plays a critical role in making sure farmers and ranchers across the state can access and benefit

Klobuchar, Smith Announce Federal Funding to Strengthen Local Meat Processing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded $2.9 million in federal funding through the American Rescue Plan to strengthen local meat processing in Central Minnesota. Specifically, the funding grants will help provide mobile meat slaughtering and processing equipment for students enrolled in meat processing career pathways at Central Lakes College and Ridgewater College.  “A healthy meat processing industry is critical to the economic success of Central Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “By giving students access to valuable resources and training, this grant will help

Klobuchar, Smith Urge U.S. Department of Agriculture to Help Minnesota Farmers Respond to Avian Flu Outbreak

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) helps Minnesota farmers respond to the recent avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak. “We write with concern about the rapid spread of the H5N1 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) virus that has been confirmed in 19 commercial turkey flocks and 2 backyard flocks in 11 counties across Minnesota, already killing over a million birds,” the lawmakers wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “As the number

Senate Unanimously Passes Sens. Smith, Ernst’s “National Women in Agriculture Day” Resolution

WASHINGTON [3.30.22]—Last night, during Women’s History Month, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan measure from U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)—both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee—designating March 24, 2022 as “National Women in Agriculture Day” to honor “the countless women who help agriculture prosper both at home and abroad.” Every single female senator joined Ernst and Smith on their resolution. “Agriculture is the backbone of Minnesota’s diverse economy,” said Senator Tina Smith. “Women have always played an essential role in this sector, and I’m proud we have passed this bipartisan effort to set aside a

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