Minnesota State Legislators return to St. Paul on April 18 with a significant number of issues to address during the closing five weeks of the 2017 session. Leaders in both the House and Senate established earlier committee deadlines to better manage larger pieces legislation before the session is scheduled to end and to avoid the potential for a special session. As a result, several bills with impacts to the agriculture sector could be taken up soon.
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,
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.
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.
Gary Prescher, Delavan, Minn., was recently named a state winner in the National Corn Growers Association’s (NCGA) “National Corn Yield Contest”. Prescher attributes his success to a long-term commitment to improved land and crop management practices; more specifically, soil health through improved drainage, in season crop monitoring with nitrogen, and fertility management.
Back in 2010, Prescher was examining his fields and considering additional ways to improve both consistency and productivity year-to-year.
Legislative leadership recently established deadlines to move bills through the process during the 2017 session. These deadlines are earlier than recent legislative sessions. As a result, we should start to see increased action at the committee and floor level on legislation that could impact corn farmers.
Under the schedule approved by Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, all bills that have been introduced must be passed by the house of origin by Friday,
Written by Jonathan Eisenthal
A packed auditorium of farmers, local residents and government officials from across the state came together for Governor Dayton’s second annual Town Hall Water Summit, held on the campus of University of Minnesota-Morris in late January.
Written by John Mages
As combines started rolling and harvest season 2016 began, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) unveiled an ambitious new plan to help Minnesota’s corn farmers become the most sustainable and environmentally responsible farmers in the United States.
Yes, that’s a lofty goal. But as a farmer for the last 35 years, it’s a goal I’m confident that we can achieve.
One of the action steps of MCGA’s plan encourages farmers to engage in an already existing sustainability program.
A group of 13 trade delegates from Vietnam recently visited the farm of Harold Wolle in St. James, Minn., and the Poet Biorefining ethanol plant in Lake Crystal as part of a weeklong fact-finding tour. The group was impressed by the productivity of American farmers and agribusinesses, and they were reassured by seeing firsthand the quality of their products.
A major objective of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), which helped organize the trade mission,
A legislative hearing last week focused on Gov. Mark Dayton’s recent executive order on protecting pollinators, specifically a section of the order that requires farmers to prove that they face “imminent danger of significant crop loss” before they can make foliar applications of neonictinoids. MDA is also requesting regulatory authority of treated seeds.
Brian Thalmann, a fifth-generation farmer near Plato, Minn., and a director on the Minnesota Corn Growers Association board, was the lone farmer to testify at the hearing.