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.

As Chair of the Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, 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.

Latest Releases

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 forward to working with Senator Grassley and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this legislation as part of the Farm Bill.” “This type of measure is long overdue. Iowa producers are well aware of the downsides of consolidation in the meat industry,” said Sen. Grassley. “Their returns on hard work are getting squeezed more every year all consumers pay more at the grocery stores. I’m glad to work in a bipartisan way with Senator Smith as we continue trying to address this problem.” “Farmers Union launched the Fairness for Farmers campaign to call attention to the increasingly consolidated agricultural marketplace where the four largest beef packers control 85 percent of beef packing and the farmer’s share of the food dollar has dropped from 50 percent in 1952 to less than 16 percent today,” said Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) President Gary Wertish. “Sen. Smith’s bill will help

Senators Smith, Young Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Farmers, Conservation

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 gas emissions and fight climate change. This bill will help connect farmers with the information and resources they need to adopt climate smart practices.” “Hoosier farms feed our families and are integral to our supply chains. Every farmer faces unique decisions in their farm management, and pressure from the federal government to cut carbon emissions can place stress on the good work already underway,” said Senator Young. “My Conservation and Innovative Climate Partnership Act gives farmers access to the latest tools and research in order to be successful while keeping American soil productive and healthy.” The Conservation and Innovative Climate Partnership Act would: Enable partnerships between land-grant institutions and local farmers to increase uptake of conservation and innovative climate practices Allow farmers to voluntarily adopt practices that suit their individualized needs Require land-grant institutions to partner with a non-profit, state, or federal entity Allow the partnership to conduct a variety of activities to

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

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.

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

Senators Klobuchar, Smith Encourage Minnesota Farmers to Sign Up for Key Safety Net Programs

WASHINGTON, [11/7/22]  – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) urged Minnesota farmers to enroll in key agricultural safety net programs for the 2023 crop year. Producers have until March 15, 2023 to enroll in in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, which help protect farmers from unexpected market volatility. “The Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs help provide our farmers with a strong safety net and much-needed stability in the event of  volatile commodity markets,” said Klobuchar. “ I encourage all eligible farmers to reach out to their local Farm

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