AG CONFERENCE COMMITTEE
Conferees will begin meeting soon to hammer out differences between the agriculture funding and policy bills passed by the Minnesota House and Senate. The House passed their version last week. The Senate passed their version the week prior. Conferees include Senate Ag Committee Chair Aric Putnam, Vice Chair Sen. Rob Kupec, Sen. Torrey Westrom, House Ag Committee Samantha Vang, Vice Chair Rep. Kristi Pursell and Rep. Paul Anderson.
Among the key measures in each bill is money for a grain indemnity fund, meat processing, biofuels infrastructure and more. Sen. Putnam says the two versions of the bill aren't far apart, so he expects a collaborative process to reach a final draft. Listen
House Ag Committee Chair Samantha Vang says the House bill makes a lot of direct investments in agriculture. Listen
Rep. Paul Anderson, one of two Republican members on the conference committee agrees that financial difference should be fairly easy to work out, but some of the policy issues, including proposed changes to the Board of Animal Health may be more problematic. Listen
CONVERSATION WITH THE GOVERNOR
The Linder Farm Network broadcast from the Minnesota State Capitol this week with Minnesota Farmers Union President Gary Wertish serving as farm broadcaster for the day. We were able to sit down the Governor Tim Walz to discuss his agriculture priorities. Gov. Walz says the grain indemnity fund, support for meat processing and biofuels infrastructure are among the positive investments taking place in the ag bills. Gov. Walz also said his support for increasing access to electric vehicle use in Minnesota shouldn't be construed as a knock on the importance of biofuels to the state. Listen
HYLIFE FOODS FALLOUT
State and Windom city officials and policymakers met this week to consider options for the HyLife Foods Windom, LLC pork production plant. Just over two weeks ago the company notified state officials the plant will permanently close in June if a new buyer is not found. The meeting included Representatives with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the Department of Employment and Economic Development, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority. The organizations say they are working to HyLife to help secure a new buyer for the facility, placing an emphasis on housing and infrastructure needs. Support for the nearly 1,000 plant workers remains a focus. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson says it's important to employees and farmers in the region to keep the plant open. Listen
According to MDA, following the meeting, Windom Mayor Dominic Jones spoke to a representative of the HyLife facility, and the company reiterated their position of actively working toward selling the facility and continuing to operate production for the immediate future.
FARM BILL LISTENING SESSIONS
Senator Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Tom Emmer recently held Farm Bill listening sessions in Minnesota as Congress works on writing the 2023 Farm Bill. Sen. Klobuchar was joined by ranking Senate Ag Committee member Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas. Minnesota Farm Bureau President Dan Glessing says he's optimistic the 2023 Farm Bill can cross the finish line because the current bill has been working well for many farmers. Listen