Sen. Tina Smith Announces Ag Working Group ahead of Upcoming Farm Bill Debate

U.S. Senator Tina Smith announced the members of her newly-formed Ag Working Group who will help make sure Minnesota priorities are included in the upcoming debate over the federal Farm Bill.

“I fought for a spot on the Senate Agriculture Committee because agriculture is the foundation of Minnesota’s economy,” said Sen. Smith. “As we move into this year’s Farm Bill debate, I plan to push Minnesota priorities after hearing from as many Minnesota experts as possible. My new Ag Working Group will bring together Minnesotans with a deep understanding of farm policy and how it impacts our state’s producers, businesses, and communities. They’ll advise me on things like crop insurance, research, conservation, and energy. And then there are others with backgrounds in rural development, rural health, and nutrition. This is a great group, and I’ll take what I  learn from them, and get to work for Minnesota.”

Sen. Smith will be hosting a kickoff event for her Ag Working Group in the coming weeks, and stakeholders include, but are not limited to, the following Minnesotans from across the state:

Gary Wertish, Minnesota Farmers Union
Kevin Paap, Minnesota Farm Bureau
Keith Olander, Central Lakes College
Shannon Schlecht, Agriculture Utilization Research Institute
Matthew Fitzgerald, Young Farmer Coalition
Pakou Hang, Hmong American Farmers Association
Ramon Leon, Latino Economic Development Center
Dave Carlson, Minnesota Outdoor Heritage Alliance
Michelle Medina, Minnesota Farmers Union
Cheryal Lee Hills, Region Five Development Commission
Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, Region Nine Development Commission
Dave Hengel, Greater Bemidji
Paul Mackie, National Association for Rural Mental Health, Mankato State University
Mark Jones, Minnesota Rural Health Association
Colleen Moriarty, Hunger Solutions
Rob Zeaske, Second Harvest Heartland
Jeffrey Phillips, Minnesota Department of Agriculture
Scott Dane, Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota
Deann Stish, Minnesota Forest Resource Council
Wayne Brandt, Minnesota Forest Industries
Bev Durgan, University of Minnesota Extension Service
LeAnn Buck, Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts
Ben Winchester, University of Minnesota Extension Service
LeRoy Staples Fairbanks III, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
Keith Anderson, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
Fitz Ebinger, Clean Energy Resource Teams

If you would like to contribute to Sen. Smith’s Ag Working Group, please send your input to