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, 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.

Latest Releases

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces $22.3 Million in USDA Funding Available to Organizations Helping Veterans, Non-traditional Farmers Get into Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making up to $22.3 million available to fund efforts that help non-traditional farmers and veterans in Minnesota and across the country get into agriculture. “Too often, Minnesota residents from communities who traditionally have not been involved in agriculture, as well as veterans, find barriers to getting into farming,” said Sen Smith. “The 2501 Program helps to remedy that, and I’m proud to champion its reauthorization in the Senate. These funds are available to groups, organizations, and higher education institutions that want to assist them in getting started. I encourage those eligible to apply for this opportunity.”   Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, leads the bill in the Senate to reauthorize the “Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Grant Program” – or the 2501 Program – that is funded by USDA and set to be included in the Farm Bill. Smith has long been a champion of the 2501 Program and pushed to reauthorize and expand the funding during the debate over the 2018 Farm Bill – which was ultimately signed into law. Information on how to apply can be found below: Eligible applicants include not-for-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and a range of higher education institutions serving African-American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.   The deadline for applications is July 15, 2024. See the 2501 Program page for more information on the 2501 funding opportunity. USDA Teleconferences to Help With Application Process USDA will host two teleconferences during

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Celebrates Red Lake, Inc. Trade Mission to India

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, celebrated that Red Lake Nation’s Red Lake, Inc. will be participating in a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agribusiness trade mission to New Delhi, India at the end of the month. 47 diverse businesses and organizations will join Under Secretary Alexis M. Taylor on the mission, and Red Lake will be the only representative from a Native or Tribal community. “We need to support all farmers—and that includes making sure we’re advocating for Native farmers who may face unique and challenging barriers to successfully owning and operating farms,” said Sen. Smith. “This trade mission to India will be a great opportunity for Red Lake to cultivate new markets for their agriculture products.” While on the trade mission, participants will engage in targeted meetings and site visits to build new trade linkages, strengthen existing partnerships, observe U.S. products in the marketplace, and discover the latest Indian consumer food trends. Participants will also receive in-depth market briefings from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and industry trade experts. Dating back to 2018, Senator Smith has pushed for Tribal inclusion on USDA trade missions. She joined colleagues from New Mexico, Montana, and North Dakota to send a letter to then Secretary Sonny Perdue to more fully incorporate tribes into these trade missions. ###

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, Todd Young Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Farmers, Combat Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7.11.23] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced bipartisan legislation that will help combat climate change and improve agricultural resilience and productivity. Experts estimate that American farmers could store up to 220 billion pounds of carbon annually across all US croplands. The Advancing Research on Agricultural Climate Impacts Act will bolster our understanding of soil carbon sequestration and help farmers enhance soil health, make their operations more resilient, and combat climate change. “Farmers in Minnesota don’t need to be told climate change is happening, they see it every year in the form of

Senators Tina Smith, Joni Ernst Push USDA to Allow More Milk Options in Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. [6.16.23] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the Department to continue allowing non-fat and low-fat flavored milk in schools.  The letter is in response to a proposed rule from the USDA that could limit flavored milk options in schools. However, school nutritionists have reported that dairy in the school meals is often the only or one of the only ways that many children consume nutrients like calcium and protein. “Each day during the academic year, over 15.5 million kids receive

Senator Tina Smith, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect U.S. Agricultural Exports

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined Senators John Thune (R-SD), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) in introducing bipartisan legislation to protect American food products from unfair trade practices by foreign countries. Common food and drink names such as parmesan, asiago, romano, and bologna are used around the world to describe products to consumers. However, due to geographic indication to European locations, the European Union has begun using economic and political influence to implement unfair trade practices under the guise of protecting geographic indicators. These unfair trade practices have the potential to block United States

Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce New Regional Food Business Center to Support Farmers in Minnesota

WASHINGTON [5.10.23] – Today, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced the creation of a new Regional Food Business Center in Minnesota that will help farmers, ranchers, and other food businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state, and local resources. The new center, which will be located in Staples, MN, is made possible by the American Rescue Plan, which Klobuchar and Smith helped pass. “Our farmers are an essential part of the fabric of our state. We need to make sure they have the necessary resources to continue to feed and fuel the world,” said Klobuchar.

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