Category: Sustainability

2017 Minnesota Session

Legislative Update: Major bills moving to closure

In the days leading up to the Legislature’s annual Spring Break (April 7-16), several high-profile bills have either received approval and await Gov. Dayton’s action or are making the final turns in the legislative process before moving forward for the Governor’s approval.

Health Insurance Reform
Although Congress was unable to pass a health insurance reform package in March, the Minnesota Legislature did. Both the Senate and House passed the reinsurance plan that we have discussed in recent weeks,

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MN House 2017

Legislative Update: State budget proposals unveiled

Under the Minnesota Constitution, the State Legislature and Governor are responsible for developing a new state budget every two years. Budgets are crafted during odd numbered years, immediately following the previous year’s elections. The state’s fiscal budget year is July 1 – June 30, so the legislature and Governor have a real deadline, unless they are prepared to risk a government shutdown.

How well a state budget is developed and adopted depends in part on ideological differences between those who control the state’s House,

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Green Biologics, Little Falls

Next gen green chemicals coming off the line at Little Falls plant

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

What does firing up a charcoal grill in LA have to do with field corn raised in Minnesota?

A lot, when that corn has gone through the brand new Green Biologics retrofitted facility in Little Falls, Minn. The facility processes corn into butanol, the main ingredient in lighter fluid. And it’s renewable—that’s a plus in many markets, now.

Green Biologics also turns corn into renewable acetone,

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MN Capitol

Legislative Update: Health insurance re-emerges as significant issue

During the first few weeks of this year’s Legislative session, Republicans and Democrats worked quickly to pass a bipartisan bill to provide $326 million in premium relief to people who obtain their health insurance through the individual market exchange. When passing the bill, legislators and Gov. Dayton acknowledged that a more permanent solution was needed to avoid skyrocketing insurance premiums for 2018 and to ensure that insurance companies wouldn’t abandon the individual market. During March,

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Buffer near Montevideo, MN

Statement from the Minnesota Corn Growers Association Related to Water Buffer Issue

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA), in response to comments yesterday from Governor Mark Dayton regarding water buffer proposals in the legislature, noted that Minnesota corn farmers across the state are on track toward implementing a variety of innovative measures to help protect water quality throughout farm country in Greater Minnesota.

Governor Dayton, in a recent letter to the association, thanked MCGA for its “excellent work” in showing how to “protect our land,

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Explore latest in food, ag, science at UMN Classes Without Quizzes

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Ever wonder what keeps a seed scientist up at night? While they toss and turn, they can’t stop thinking, ‘Will these two promising inbreds cross nicely and become a high-performing hybrid? And when we have a prizewinner, how will it do in different soils? In rainier or drier places?’

There’s a reason it takes years to develop a new corn variety.

Prof. Candy Hirsch will take a group of interested lay people on a one-hour tour through the ins and outs of corn inbreds and hybrids,

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MN Legislature

Ag policy issues elevated in Legislature

Earlier this session, both House and Senate leadership established committee deadlines that were earlier in the legislative calendar than those in past legislative sessions. The shorter deadlines mean that key policy legislation needs crisp action to adhere to leadership’s strict schedule. By last Friday, for example, all bills that have been introduced had to pass out of committees in their house of origin to remain viable. As a result, agriculture issues received a significant amount of attention during the week.

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Minnesota Corn Growers Association selects 2017-18 student intern

A University of Minnesota student will have an opportunity to further develop her agriculture leadership skills by serving as an intern with the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA). The MCGA Internship Program is in its second year.

Over the next year, Mariah Larson will work on behalf of Minnesota’s corn farmers and gain exposure to Minnesota agriculture through office operations, educational and outreach programs, communications, and member engagement.

Look for Larson at MCGA-sponsored events this summer like Farmfest,

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Demmer Family

UMN Farm Family of the Game: The Demmer Family

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Julie and Jerry Demmer, Clarks Grove, Minn, were recently honored as a University of Minnesota (UMN) Gopher Hockey ‘Farm Family of the Game’. UMN and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) are honoring farm families this hockey season, spotlighting the importance of using best management practices that help preserve Minnesota’s rich natural resources.

In recognition for their conservation work, UMN hosted the Demmer family at a men’s hockey game this past month.

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MN House 2017

Legislative Update: Larger budget surplus drives tax reform talk

According to the Minnesota Management and Budget’s (MMB) February Forecast, which was issued on Tuesday, Feb. 28, the state is projected to have a slightly larger budget surplus than what was predicted back in November. As has been mentioned before, policymakers have been discussing a variety of ways to manage the budget surplus, now estimated at approximately $1.65 billion for the two-year budget cycle that begins July 1.

Tax relief measures are among the more popular proposals of how to allocate the surplus.

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