What Local Farmers Hope to Find on the New Farm Bill

Senator Tina Smith's staff is asking the community to voice concerns and ideas.

CLOQUET, Minn.- As the 2018 Farm Bill works its way through Congress, Northland farmers are making sure their priorities are being heard.

Members of the agriculture community joined political representatives at Fond Du Lac Community College on Wednesday to talk about farming needs. Senator Tina Smith is a member of the Senate Agricultural Committee, some of her staff members were among those in Cloquet hoping to bring ideas and concerns back to Washington. This stop is one of many planned for the senator’s staff members to better understand what Minnesota farmers would like to see included in the Farm Bill.

“People are concerned about making sure policies are in place for a safety net for farmers and for the poor,” Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resources outreach director Paula Sunde said.

The crowd was also full of union members, retired farmers, and business owners. These folks showed up because they know items included in the farm bill can have a big impact well beyond just what happens on farms.

“The farm bill is important to us and to our landowners to help bring resources to them for a continued conservation implementation,” Carlton Soil and Water Conservation district manager Brad Matlack said.

The new farm bill is still being finalized in Congress. The current version passed back in 2014 provides; farm payments when crop prices decline, supports forestry management programs, encourages renewable energy programs, and provides support for U.S. agricultural export promotion.

Minnesota is the fourth largest agriculture exporter in the nation.

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