MSGA optimistic as special session looms

May 23, 2019 / Categories: Uncategorized

With a special session expected, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) is hopeful the final details of the agriculture portion of Minnesota’s biennium budget will prove favorable to Minnesota farmers.

“There are still loose ends to tie up, but we are confident that when the dust settles, Minnesota farmers will be pleased with the details of the final legislation,” says MSGA Vice President Jamie Beyer, who also chairs MSGA’s advocacy action team. “So far, we’re encouraged by the legislation that’s already been agreed on.”

The Minnesota Republican-controlled Senate has included several farm friendly provisions expected to be included in the final agriculture budget, including funding for the Soy Innovation Campus and increased resources for rural broadband.

“By working together, we were able to craft a bipartisan budget that prioritizes Minnesota farm families and Greater Minnesota Development, not the growth of bureaucracy in St. Paul,” said Sen. Torrey Westrom, (R-Elbow Lake), chair of the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance Committee and chief-author of the legislation. “Low commodity prices have severely impacted the agriculture community, especially dairy and soybean farmers. This bill includes investments in programs that aim to expand markets and improve the bottom lines of Minnesota farmers.”

The overall budget will spend $48 billion over the next two years, a six percent increase. The governor also agreed to drop his proposed 16 cent fuel tax increase. Additionally, for the first time in years, middle class Minnesotans will see a slight tax decrease.

The bipartisan policy deal that Gov. Tim Walz and legislators compromised on earlier in the week features a host of policies that MSGA supported, including:

  • Increased funding for rural mental health;
  • Extending AFREC for five years;
  • Funding for Control and eradication of Palmar amaranth;
  • Clarifies agricultural homestead classification;
  • Exempting truck washes from swine basins;
  • Federal Conformity Section 179;
  • Increases the school building bond agricultural credit from 40 percent to 70 percent;
  • Modifying and improving the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit;
  • No further pesticide regulations.

MSGA will issue a full release highlighting the policies most affecting agriculture once the special session wraps up.

“We look forward to the special session in the Legislature, passing the agreed upon bill,” Smentek said. “We thank our farmer leaders and our top-notch lobbying team for working hard throughout the session to score sizable victories for Minnesota farmers.”

Follow The Conversation