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

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 strengthen our state’s meat processing sector.” “Just a handful of large companies have come to dominate the meat and poultry processing industry, which means higher prices for consumers and shrinking earnings for farmers,” said Smith. “This new investment will make Minnesota’s meat processing sector more dynamic and competitive while supporting hundreds of jobs. I am proud of our work to pass the American Rescue Plan, which made this program possible.” Klobuchar and Smith have long worked to support local meat processing. Last month, they secured major federal funding through the Congressionally-Directed Spending (CDS) process to increase meat cutting and butchery career pathways in Central Minnesota.  In December 2020, Klobuchar and Senator Jerry Moran’s bipartisan RAMP-UP Act, which Smith co-sponsored, was signed into law. This legislation provided grants to meat processors to make the improvements necessary for federal inspection, a prerequisite for being authorized to sell produce across state lines. The bill created the Meat and Poultry Inspection

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 one turkey producing state in the country, we are extremely concerned about the potential impact to the poultry industry should this outbreak of HPAI continue to spread.” “In order to contain the virus and minimize economic disruptions to Minnesota farmers and rural communities, we respectfully urge the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to allow for flexibility when farmers receive the devastating news that they have an infected flock,” the senators continued. “Being able to quickly contain infected birds to stop the spread of the virus and responsibly restock barns that are within a control zone are critical steps in helping this important sector of Minnesota’s agricultural economy.” Klobuchar has long worked to provide Minnesota farmers with the resources to weather livestock diseases and economic disruptions. During the 2015 outbreak, Klobuchar led bipartisan efforts to ensure USDA had the resources necessary to fight the outbreak and compensate farmers for

U.S. Sens. Tina Smith, Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig Lead MN Members in Introducing Resolution to Designate November 17 as “National Butter Day”

WASHINGTON, D.C [11/17/21]— U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar (both D-Minn.) and U.S. Representative Angie Craig (D-Minn.) today introduced resolutions in both the House and Senate to designate November 17, 2021 as “National Butter Day.” The Members were joined by U.S. Representative Betty McCollum and U.S. Representative Michelle Fischbach in introducing the Resolution. The three leads, all of whom serve on the Agriculture Committee, said that as a dairy state, Minnesota is a major butter producer and their resolution would promote the production of butter, not only in their state, but across the country. “Dairy producers play an important economic

Klobuchar, Smith Announce USDA Grant Program to Support Health Care in Rural Communities

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) joined U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make significant funding available through Emergency Rural Health Care grants to help rural health care facilities, tribes, and communities expand access to coronavirus vaccines, health care services, and nutrition assistance. “Strengthening access to quality health care in rural areas is crucial to the success and prosperity of our state,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This federal funding will make a big difference by providing medical equipment, telehealth services, food assistance, and coronavirus vaccines to those in our rural communities. As we

U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar & Tina Smith Announce Emergency Haying & Grazing in Minnesota

WASHINGTON, D.C. [8/5/21]—In response to the severe and worsening drought causing Upper Midwest cattle producers to run out of hay for their herds, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced that producers can now request haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in 79 Minnesota counties. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) authorized the change on Wednesday. The senators said that Minnesota counties are approved for emergency haying and grazing due to drought conditions on a county-by-county basis, when a county is designated as level “D2 Drought – Severe” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. FSA provides a weekly, online update of eligible counties here.  “The droughts across Minnesota have created

U.S. Senators Tina Smith, John Thune Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Allow Emergency Haying During Severe Drought

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7/28/21]—With severe and worsening drought causing Upper Midwest cattle producers to run out of hay for their herds, U.S. Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced bipartisan legislation to allow future emergency haying on federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.  Right now, emergency haying on CRP land is not allowed until after the primary nesting season, which ends August 1 in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. The Senators’ CRP Flexibility Act would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) the tools to allow emergency haying on CRP acres before August 1 when certain conditions are met and in consultation with the state conservation experts. U.S. Reps. Angie Craig (D-MN 2) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) introduced a House companion bill. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and

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