U.S. Sen. Tina Smith Tells Agriculture Committee that Minnesota Farmers Feel Impact of Climate Change, Discusses Innovative State Efforts to Address it

WASHINGTON, D.C. [12/02/20]—U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing today that Minnesota farmers see the reality of climate change every year with the increasing impact of drought, heat, and floods, and she pointed to the innovative work of a new coalition of Minnesota businesses and researchers that is working to find solutions.

Sen. Smith told the panel about MBOLD, a coalition of food and agriculture leaders who are working to deal with climate change, food insecurity and many other pressing problems for agriculture.  The group includes the University of Minnesota, Minnesota Fortune 100 companies as well as researchers and advocacy groups and is a model for the nation’s battle against climate change.

“You don’t have to tell Minnesota farmers about the realities of climate change.  They see it every year,” Senator Smith told the Committee. “When it comes to climate change solution, we can either lead or we can follow.  If we lead we create more opportunity, more innovation, and with our focus on research, we can increase our competitive advantage.”

Dr. Steven Rosenzweig, a soil scientist Minnesota-based General Mills, told the Committee, which is part of MBOLD, told the committee about several of the initiatives that the coalition is undertaking to deal with climate change.

Discussing Importance of U.S. Sugar Program, Quality Rural Health Care With MN Sugar Growers

Prior to the hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Smith  spoke to the Red River Valley Sugar Beet Growers Association annual meeting where she discussed the importance of a strong U.S. sugar program, which generates $3.4 billion in economic activity across the country.

“The sugar industry is critically important to Minnesota’s economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs in the Red River Valley, and more than 142,000 nationwide,” Sen. Smith told the group.  “I fought to protect the USDA sugar program, the last Farm Bill because it provides important help for sugar growers at no cost to taxpayers.”   

She also told them that she will continue to press to ensure that rural communities in Minnesota and across the country continue to have access to affordable, quality health care services, especially during the ongoing pandemic.  She pointed to her bipartisan efforts to strengthen the rural health work force, expand telemedicine, and to modernize rural health clinics and improve health services for new and expecting mothers.