Category: Policy

Northern farmers can again take advantage of free bus ride to MN Ag EXPO

Northern farmers will once again have the option to sit back, relax and enjoy the bus ride to MN Ag EXPO in Mankato next month. Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the stress-free ride by hopping on the bus at one of four stops across northern Minnesota.

The bus will be picking up farmers in Red Lake Falls, Fertile Ada, Barnesville and Fergus Falls the morning of Jan. 23, which is the day before EXPO begins.

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Farmers unite on Twitter to support NAFTA

Farmers nationwide united on Twitter yesterday to make their voices heard on the importance of NAFTA to agriculture. The grassroots advocacy campaign included farmers of all backgrounds, legislators and multiple ag and business organizations proclaiming the economic impact of the free-trade agreement using the #Farmers4NAFTA hashtag.

Farmers were encouraged to tweet positive messages about NAFTA and the benefits it has brought to American farms. Participants cited statistics that show the growth of exports to Canada and Mexico under NAFTA,

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End-of-year crop survey results needed for safety net programs

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey approximately 90,000 U.S. producers for final information on 2017 row crops during the first two weeks of December. Details on harvested acreage, production and storage will be used to establish farm safety net programs, making it crucial farmers take the time to provide accurate information.

NASS uses the survey results to help establish county level estimates used by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for the Agriculture Risk Coverage program and the Risk Management Agency to administer insurance programs.

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MN ag leaders promote the importance of free trade

AgriGrowth held its annual meeting last week in the Twin Cities, bringing together representatives from agriculture and the food systems industry. With the renegotiation of NAFTA front-of-mind for many in the ag sector, the meeting kicked off with a panel session on trade and what is at stake for U.S. agriculture.

The panel featured Devry Boughner Vorwerk, vice president of global corporate affairs at Cargill, Jeff Nawn, global grain trade and biotech affairs lead for DuPont Pioneer,

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2017 Minnesota Session

Resolutions season is upon us

County corn organization directors received their pre-resolutions packet this week in preparation for upcoming meetings that will set the legislative priorities of the state’s 24,000 corn farmers.

Directors received packets this week that included the 2017 Resolutions Book, information for counties to select their allotted delegates, and a form for counties to submit resolutions prior to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) Pre-Resolutions Session held Dec. 5 in Mankato.

Counties that would like to submit a resolution to MCGA that addresses a major issue affecting the state’s corn growers should do so by Nov.

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U.S. Grains Council: Pace of NAFTA talks not unusual, but worth monitoring

The fourth round of NAFTA renegotiations between the United States, Canada and Mexico ended earlier this month with little progress made in efforts to revamp the free trade agreement. The stalled negotiations have been a source of worry for farmers, who are understandably concerned about tariffs in a non-NAFTA world.

Not so fast, however, according to Thomas Sleight, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council.

Sleight said four rounds of negotiations with little progress is actually fairly normal in renegotiating a trade deal of this size.

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Co-op health plan offered to farmers, informational sessions scheduled

During the 2017 legislative session, the Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton approved a law that enabled farmers to form health care cooperatives to provide another option for farmers to help address rising health insurance premiums. The rule paved the way for 40 Square Cooperative Solutions to begin offering self-funded health plans to Minnesota farmers.

Farmers who are considered an “employer” with at least one common law employee and work in production agriculture are eligible.

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A week of farm visits for gubernatorial candidates

The first week of corn farm visits by 2018 candidates for Minnesota governor is in the books, with four candidates making it out to family farms to discuss the importance of agriculture. Topics ranged from healthcare, to buffers, to the technology found in the combine. Each candidate walked away with a better understanding of modern farms and the issues that are important to the state’s 24,000 corn farmers.

Invitations to gubernatorial candidates were extended earlier this summer as part of the “MN Corn Grows MN” campaign,

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Buffer Alternative Practices

Buffer Law deadline for compliance is Nov. 1

The deadline for farmers to comply with the Minnesota Buffer Law is less than a month away.

By Nov. 1, the law requires farmers to install a 50-foot vegetative buffer on all public waters, or file for a waiver that extends the deadline. By Nov. 1, 2018, farmers must have a 16.5-foot buffer on all public ditches.

Prior to Nov. 1, farmers are encouraged to visit their local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) office to discuss options for compliance and implementation under Minnesota’s buffer law.

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MCGA District Meetings set for November

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) will host five district meetings around the state this November. These meetings are free and open to all farmers.

The purpose of the meetings is to provide an opportunity for farmers to become better acquainted with recent activities of MCGA, and learn what lies ahead for Minnesota agriculture. This year’s meetings will be especially important, as they’ll give farmers a chance to meet their local district field manager if they haven’t already.

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