The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation is among the state’s most influential grassroots farm organizations. In this Field Talk podcast, we talk with MFBF President Dan Glessing about the organization, its mission and how local voices help shape organizational policy


High grain prices and supply chain issues took a toll on the amount of acres contracted for identity preserved and food-grade corn and soybeans the past several years, but the tide may be turning. Find out more in this week's LFN video.

Farm News

March 22, 2023

Hundreds of people and a few tractors filled the Capitol Mall in St. Paul Tuesday to celebrate Ag Day. The rally, organized by the Minnesota Farm Bureau, included a proclamation from Gov. Tim Walz declaring March 21 Ag Day in Minnesota. Gov. Walz told rally participants "it matters that you're here."

In addition to the rally, Farm Bureau members conducted visits with their legislative representation to discuss pressing ag issues, including soil health funding, beginning farmer tax credits, the proposed change to the makeup of the Board of Animal Health and more. 

Minnesota Farm Bureau President Dan Glessing says there is great value in farmers having a presence at the state capitol while forging relationships with both rural and urban legislators. Listen

Minnesota Agrticulture Commissioner Thom Petersen and several lawmakers addressed the Ag Day rally. Senate agriculture committee chair Aric Putnam told the crowd that lawmakers in St. Paul could learn a lot from farmers. Listen

Democratic legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Walz agreed this week on broad budget targets that add up to nearly $17.9 billion in new spending, including $3 billion for tax cuts. Details of where the money will go remain to be negotiated. The budget targets include $48 million for agriculture. 

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) leaders are upset with the low budget numbers included for agriculture in the budget targets.

“This global budget agreement is not indicative to agriculture’s importance to Minnesota,” MSGA President Bob Worth said. “Agriculture is 30 percent of the GDP in Minnesota, and this proposal limits the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s ability to do the work it needs to do.”

MSGA members are in St. Paul today to visit lawmakers. MSGA Secretary Brad Hovel of Cannon Falls says top issues including preserving the availability of crop protection products like seed treatments, property tax relief, homestead tax credit and biodiesel will be addressed. Hovel also says trade and transportation will also be discussed, including the potential to increase the viability of the Port of Duluth for grain shipments. Listen

Several Minnesota organizations involved with hunger relief and agriculture submitted a letter to the Minnesota House and Senate leadership, urging legislators to increase the 2023 agriculture budget to invest in farmers and food systems. Twenty-two groups signed onto the letter, led by Land Stewardship Project, Second Harvest Heartland, and Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. 285 individual farmers also signed on to an earlier petition for a higher agriculture budget.

The groups contend that Minnesota spends less than 0.5% of its budget on agriculture, yet the industry is responsible for $112 billion annually in total economic impact in Minnesota, driven by farmers, farmworkers, food makers, processors and entrepreneurs. To better support the state’s farmers and rural communities, the groups argue the Agriculture Committees deserve at least a $110 million budget target.

Compeer Financial Vice President of Legislative Affairs Perry Aasness says there are several areas of concern with bills making their way through the Minnesota Legislature. Aasness says a paid family medical leave act and a proposal to increase the capital gains tax could both be costly to those in agriculture. Aasness also says there are bills related to animal agriculture and environmental regulation that are concerning. Listen

A fire late yesterday caused severe damage to the Midwest Machinery John Deere dealership in Madison. Maynard Meyer with Linder Farm Network affiliate KLQP in Madison said the fire broke out last evening, reportedly starting in the shop area, and spread throughout the building. Firefighters from 16 different departments battled the blaze until early this morning. Heavy smoke also prompted the evacuation of several homes and an apartment building. Meyer says the cause remains under investigation, but the damage is significant. Listen

The governors of Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota have sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Regan requesting an emergency waiver to allow for E15 this summer during driving season.

Regan approved an April 28, 2022 petition to allow for year-round sales of E15, but the administration has delayed issuing the proposal. Now, the EPA wants to delay implementation until April 2024.

The governors requested that the EPA use its emergency authority to ensure that lower-cost E15 remains available in the marketplace this summer. The agency used this authority during the summer of 2022. The governors contend that market conditions that justified emergency actions last summer still exist today

At an EPA hearing this week, members of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) said that months of regulatory delays by the EPA have put Midwest drivers at risk of losing access to lower-cost, lower-carbon E15 this summer. The. RFA urged the agency to allow sales of the E15 fuel blend this summer, rather than waiting until 2024, as has been proposed by EPA.

RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper reminded the agency that it had a statutory duty to approve and implement the governor's petition within 90 days—which would have been no later than July 27, 2022. Instead, the proposal was issued just three weeks ago, and EPA proposes deferring implementation until 2024. 

Even though EPA’s proposal is more than seven months late, there remains no economic, environmental, or legal justification for the Agency to delay implementation, Cooper said.

GreenSeam has released their annual State of Ag Report, which is the result of a comprehensive survey and a series of focus groups of Minnesota’s agribusinesses and related industries. The report reveals the perceptions, directions and opinions on the economy and other major issues impacting businesses in the agriculture industry. GreenSeam Executive Director Sam Ziegler says the majority of respondents felt the agriculture industry is heading in the right direction and the percentage of ag businesses that expect to grow in the coming year was higher in 2023 than in previous reports. Ziegler says there is reason for optimism in the industry, but ag isn't without some head winds. Listen

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will conduct its biannual Agricultural Labor Survey in April. The survey will collect information about hired labor from more than 350 Minnesota farmers. NASS will publish the data May 24 in the Farm Labor report available on the NASS website at nass.usda.gov/Publications.

Over 10,400 attendees  gathered for the 2023 Commodity Classic  in Orlando.

The 2023 event broke the previous Commodity Classic record of 9,770 attendees, which was held in New Orleans in 2016.

“The excitement in Orlando was energizing,” said George Goblish, Minnesota farmer, ASA member, and co-chair of the 2023 Commodity Classic. “We knew going into the event that registration was up 30% over last year, but to have a record-breaking show just blew us away.”

The state's leading dairy advocacy group supports the introduction of the Dairy Assistance, Investment and Relief Initiative (DAIRI) 2.0 legislation. The proposal creates a public-private partnership by creating a state rebate for the premium incurred when a dairy farmer enrolls in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. Minnesota Milk CEO Lucas Sjostrom is pleased the legislation is moving forward. Listen

Upcoming Events

April 11             AURI New Uses Forum, Minneapolis

April 23-25       Minnesota FFA Convention, St. Paul

Farm Fun Fact

While agriculture is vital every day, National Ag Day is celebrated every year to recognize the importance of agriculture and the contributions farmers make to society. National Ag Day was established in 1973 by the Agriculture Council of America, but wasn't celebrated until 1979.


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