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 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 Service Agency and apply for assistance before the March 15 deadline.” “While market prices have been good for Minnesota farmers, recent history tells us it’s important to be prepared for anything,” said Smith. “Whether it’s the pandemic, Putin’s war in Ukraine, or climate-fueled extreme weather, unexpected shocks to the market can be devastating for Minnesota farmers and our local economy. That’s why safety net programs like ARC and PLC are so important – they provide farmers the security they need to navigate market volatility. I encourage Minnesota farmers to contact their local USDA Service Center and sign up for these programs before the March 15 deadline.”  The ARC and PLC programs are part of a broader safety net provided by USDA, which also includes crop insurance and marketing assistance loans.  The ARC and PLC safety net programs were first authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill and reauthorized by the 2018 Farm Bill.

U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces Significant Investments to Assist Underserved Farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. [11/02/22] — U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), announced over $2 million in funding for a key program aimed at helping underserved and veteran farmers in Minnesota access critical financial services. The program, which Smith helped reauthorize in the 2018 Farm Bill, will deliver support and training for Minnesota farmers who have historically lacked access to critical federal programs and services, including loan and grant assistance. “We have to acknowledge that the USDA has a history of institutionalized discrimination against farmers of color. That is the history and we cannot shy away from it,” said Sen. Smith. “As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I have worked hard to create equitable access to financial services for underserved farmers including Black, Hmong, Latino and Native American farmers in Minnesota. These investments will help level the playing field and ensure everyone has equal access to financial services and other critical federal programs.” The Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers program relies on peer “Connectors,” who deliver culturally relevant trainings and offer one-on-one support to help farmers understand and access U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resources. By using existing connections to Black, Hmong, Latinx, and beginning farmer networks, thousands of Minnesota farmers will gain awareness of these programs and services. Additionally, funding will be used to build comprehensive financial literacy and business development programs to help underserved farmers access financial capital and gain a better understanding of their farm’s finances. The program will also provide culturally

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

Every Female Senator Joins Smith, Ernst Resolution Designating Today National Women in Agriculture Day

WASHINGTON – During Women’s History Month and National Agriculture Week, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)—both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee—have just received the support of every single female senator for their resolution designating today, March 24, as “National Women in Agriculture Day” to honor “the countless women who help agriculture prosper both at home and abroad.” Today, the senators are pushing the Senate to unanimously adopt their bipartisan measure, a process known as “hotlining.” The senators introduced the resolution earlier this week. Now, their bipartisan resolution has the support of every female senator and a

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