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 Clean Energy Projects for Minnesota Farms and Small Businesses 

[MINNEAPOLIS, MN] – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced funding awards for 27 farms and small businesses across rural and Greater Minnesota to install clean energy technology on their farms. This round of funding for Minnesota totals nearly $2 million. This initiative is possible through the more than $144 million in grant funding for underutilized renewable technologies through the Renewable Energy for America (REAP) program, which Senator Smith championed and strengthened in the Inflation Reduction Act.   “The clean energy transition is happening, the question is whether we lead or follow. I want us to lead,” said Senator Smith. “But as we make the switch to cleaner, cheaper energy, we need to make sure everyone benefits. That’s one reason programs like REAP, which helps rural communities install renewable energy systems, are so important. These investments will save farms and small businesses across Minnesota thousands of dollars a year in energy costs while helping reduce harmful emissions.”  “I applied and received a grant for my new mixed flow grain dryer,” said John Kapphahn, a farmer from Elbow Lake. “We had an older continuous flow dryer that was about 20 years old that was destroyed by a tornado.  The new dryer has cut our operating expense for drying corn by at least 50% with better quality grain.” “The REAP grant funding helped us to add a rooftop solar array to our dairy farm,” said Alan Abrahamson from Lindstrom. “As a small dairy farm anything we can do to reduce our

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Announce Funding for Meat Processing Facility in Waseca

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, announced federal funding to increase the meat processing capacity of Morgan’s Meat Market LLC in Waseca. The grant funding will go towards adding a smokehouse and vacuum stuffer, which will increase worker safety, reduce cleaning time from 3 days to only 4 hours, and increase processing capacity while saving time. “Agriculture is key to our state’s economy and to stay ahead, we must continue investing in our farms and food businesses,” said Klobuchar. “This federal grant will go toward bolstering capacity, improving worker safety, and upgrading efficiency at Morgan’s Meat Market in Waseca.” “A strong meat processing industry is critical to maintaining a stable economy in Minnesota, especially for Minnesota’s poultry and livestock farmers,” said Senator Smith. “By increasing capacity at Morgan’s Meat Market, producers will have another processing option. This helps farmers get a fair value for animals and also helps keep prices down for consumers at the grocery story.” The funding comes from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Local Meat Capacity grant program and will give Morgan’s Meat Market LLC in Waseca $250,000 for these upgrades. ###

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

Sen. Smith Leads Bipartisan Legislation to Safeguard American Food Exports and Protect Farmers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Chris Coons (D-DE), introduced bipartisan legislation to protect farmers in the event of animal disease outbreaks. The Safe American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would give the USDA clear authority to preemptively negotiate regionalization agreements for known animal disease threats, ultimately preventing unsafe agriculture exports from getting shipped around the globe and keeping trading markets open for American farmers with disease-free livestock. “I hear from Minnesota farmers all the time about the toll avian flu outbreaks have on families and the economy. Animal disease outbreaks can unnecessarily disrupt trade

Senator Tina Smith Joins Colleagues in Introducing Bipartisan Bill to Combat Mislabeling of Non-Dairy Products

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s proposed guidance last week allowing nut, oat, soy, and other non-dairy products to use the name “milk,” Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) joined Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jim Risch (R-ID), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Peter Welch (D-VT) in introducing bipartisan legislation to combat the unfair practice of mislabeling non-dairy products using dairy names. The Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk, and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act (DAIRY PRIDE Act) of 2023 would require non-dairy products made from nuts, seeds, plants, and algae to no longer

U.S. Senators Klobuchar, Smith Announce Funding Available for Climate-Smart Agriculture Programs

WASHINGTON [2.22.23] – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-MN) announced new funding is available for voluntary, incentive-based climate-smart agricultural and conservation programs. The funding is made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, which Klobuchar and Smith helped pass last year.   “Our farmers should have the tools and resources they need to conserve and improve soil, strengthen water quality, and preserve wildlife habitat,” said Klobuchar. “By providing Minnesota farmers with better access to critical, voluntary conservation programs, these investments will boost productivity and increase economic opportunities for our agricultural communities while protecting the environment.” “Climate friendly farming and

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