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

Sens. Klobuchar, Smith Announce Expanded Potato Export Opportunities to Mexico

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced that the United States has significantly expanded opportunities for potato exports to Mexico after 15 years of negotiations. The development comes after the two countries reached an agreement following a letter from Senators Klobuchar, Smith, and several of their colleagues pressing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to work with their Mexican counterparts to honor a trade deal expanding American potato access into Mexico.   The U.S. potato industry estimates this increased access to Mexico will provide a market potential of approximately $200 million per year. This represents an increase of $150 million from the current export value of $50 million. “Minnesota ranks among the nation’s top potato producers, and our potato farmers are a key part of our state’s economy,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This announcement will help our potato exports reach new markets and customers. I’ll keep pushing to eliminate export barriers and create more trade opportunities for our farmers.” “Until now, American potato farmers and exporters have had limited access to the Mexican marketplace,” said Sen. Smith. “This breakthrough is a huge win for Minnesota farmers who will finally have full access to the Mexican market and be able to sell their products to our southern neighbors without burdensome restrictions.” Before this agreement, American potatoes could not be sold outside of a 16-mile zone across the Mexican border. Last year, after 15 years of negotiations, the Mexican and American governments came to an agreement that would allow American farmers and exporters to sell fresh

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 from USDA programs,” said Klobuchar. “These qualified nominees will bring their considerable expertise to helping our farmers and ranchers get the assistance and resources that they need.”  “As the liaison between Minnesota farmers and federal agriculture programs, the FSA state committee helps connect the work we do in Washington to farmers in Minnesota,” said Sen. Smith. “Their expertise and experiences are crucial to the success of USDA programs. I want to congratulate these nominees on their appointment to these important posts. I am confident they will serve Minnesota famers well and help ensure federal programs are well-administered and accessible.” “Minnesota needs hardworking, dedicated professionals fighting every day to grow our farm economy and support rural communities,” said Rep. Craig. “I’m grateful that family farmers in my district and across the state will be able to rely on these hardworking and dedicated professionals to connect with USDA and access federal programs. Congratulations to all of the new

Klobuchar, Smith Announce Deadline Extension for Enrollment in 2022 Dairy Margin Coverage Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, 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 to March 25. 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 relief that benefits our rural communities,” said Klobuchar. “This extended sign-up period will allow additional time for dairy farmers to eval­­uate their eligibility and enroll. I

Klobuchar, Smith Applaud Plans to Ease Port Congestion and Restore Disrupted Shipping Services for U.S.-Grown Agricultural Commodities

WASHINGTON, D.C. [02/08/22] — U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (Both D-Minn.), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, applauded a new partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Port of Oakland, which will relieve congestion and help restore disrupted shipping nationwide. The move will make it easier for agricultural companies to fill empty shipping containers with commodities, benefitting Minnesota farmers and improving service for shippers of U.S.- grown agricultural commodities.  “Increasing port capacity is critical to helping Minnesota farmers and businesses,” said Klobuchar. “I’ve introduced legislation to ease port congestion and will keep fighting to improve

Klobuchar, Smith Urge Farmers to Sign Up for Grazing Loss Assistance Program Before Monday Deadline

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, are reminding Minnesota livestock producers who suffered grazing losses due to drought or wildfire in 2021 to enroll in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Livestock Forage Program (LFP). Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2022.  “Last year’s extreme drought and wildfires created enormous challenges for our state’s livestock producers,” said Klobuchar. “The Livestock Forage Program is available to help livestock producers as they continue to recover. I encourage all impacted producers to enroll now before the January 31 deadline.” “Widespread drought

Klobuchar, Smith Urge Farmers to Sign Up for the Conservation Reserve Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. [01/28/22]—U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (Both D-Minn.), members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, are reminding Minnesota agricultural producers and landowners to enroll in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Applications will be accepted from January 31 to March 11 for the General CRP and from April 4 to May 13 for the Grassland CRP. “The Conservation Reserve Program protects critical natural resources and provides economic benefits for our rural communities,” Klobuchar said. “I have worked to increase the number of acres in CRP so farmers and landowners can continue to access the

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