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 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 a $42 million direct loan from the USDA Rural Development Community Facilities program. After their visit with Tri-County Health Care, they toured Ten Finns Creamery in Menahga to learn about their specialization in A2 milk production and sustainable farming practices. Owned and operated by Joel and Amanda Hendrickson, their namesake comes from their Finnish ancestry and ten kids who play a big role in the daily care of their cows. Their specialization in A2 milk production produces dairy products for people with milk sensitivities to enjoy. They currently have whole milk, 2% milk, chocolate milk, and butter available as products. They pride themselves on sustainable farming practices, which include refusing to use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides and planting cover crops to keep carbon in the soil and out of our atmosphere. “It was great to have Under Secretary Torres Small here to see a glimpse of what rural Minnesota

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 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 legislation will provide work-based training programs to support a new generation of farmers and ranchers in Minnesota and around the country.” “The strength of our nation’s food security rests on the shoulders of the hardworking men and women of our ag community. Unfortunately, this industry faces an aging workforce coupled with endemic labor shortages,” said Rep. Emmer. “We are proud to lead this effort, which will provide hands-on experience and invest existing funds in our next generation of producers.” “As the average age of U.S. farmers continues to rise, and more of our nation’s farmers near retirement, it is crucial that Congress work to support a new generation of farmers and ranchers,” said Rep. Pingree. “That’s why I am co-leading the bipartisan ASPIRE Act

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

U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Mike Crapo Announce Big Win For Dairy Farmers After Leading Bipartisan Push Against Unfair Trade Practices

WASHINGTON, [1.6.22] – Today, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) announced a major victory for U.S. dairy farmers after spearheading Congressional efforts to hold Canada accountable for violations of a key trade agreement.    “For nearly two years, Senator Crapo and I have been leading the charge to crack down on Canada’s illegal trade practices that are hurting U.S. dairy farmers,” said Sen. Smith. “This is a historic win for dairies in Minnesota and across the country, who will finally be able to sell U.S. products to Canadian buyers without unjustified restrictions.” “Enforcing our trade agreements to

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