Corn’s pivotal role in supporting rural Minnesota

The “MN Corn Grows MN” campaign was launched to share information with all Minnesotans about the impact of corn farming on the overall growth of the state. In Greater Minnesota, that impact can be seen in the vital role corn farming plays in supporting rural communities.

Exports of Minnesota-grown corn produced more than $400 million in gross regional product for the state in 2018, with corn crop value totaling more than $4.6 billion. Those totals translate to Minnesota being the fourth largest producer of corn in the country.

That output by the state’s 24,000 corn farmers is a key contributor to the growth of rural communities statewide. Local coops grow with the health of its members, and Greater Minnesota’s 19 ethanol plants need a steady supply of corn bushels for long-term survival. Rural city spending is buoyed by the economic contributions of corn-related taxes and sales. And people employed as part of Minnesota’s corn sector are vital contributors to business on Main Street in Greater Minnesota towns.

And as outstate residents, Minnesota’s corn growers care deeply for the future health of their community. To contribute to a brighter future, farmers invest in the corn check-off and become active members of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association (MCGA) to advocate for rural Minnesota at the Capitol.

For example, MCGA grower leaders were part of a coalition effort to enact the Ag2School property tax credit, which provides a credit on farm property taxes levied for school district bonding projects. The credit not only provides property tax relief to farmers, but also ensures a more equitable system for rural school funding.

MCGA also worked with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to elevate the issue of mental health in our farm communities, as farmers continue to face a challenging economy. During the last legislative session, on-farm mental health received a much-needed funding increase of $500,000 over the next two years.

And to elevate issues like mental health with policy makers, Minnesota’s corn farmers, as part of MN Corn Grows MN, brought both gubernatorial and congressional candidates to rural Minnesota to discuss what is impacting farmers and their communities. MCGA also co-hosted the Greater Minnesota Gubernatorial Debate to increase awareness of issues in outstate communities.

Minnesota needs strong rural communities for long-term sustainability. The state’s corn growers, through their economic impact and advocacy efforts, are proud contributors to building a healthier Greater Minnesota. It is one of the many ways MN Corn Grows MN.

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