Here's a transcription of "DFL did prioritize agriculture":
The Nov. 20 article "Rural Republicans to chair agriculture committees" requires a bit of perspective.
In the article, Rep. Rod Hamilton said the new committee structure recognized the importance of agriculture to the state. It's remarkable that when he last chaired the Agriculture Finance Committee, he cut $1.5 million from the Governor's agriculture budget. Under the DFL's leadership, Minnesota's agriculture was prioritized, and we supported our farmers and friend working in the agriculture industry by investing more in them, an increase to the tune of $4.7 million, or 6 percent.
Considering that, I find it interesting to read how the importance of agriculture wasn't recognized the past two years.
I'm proud of the tremendous progress that we made in the past two years in Minnesota, especially in agriculture and food issues. Not only did we bolster our financial support for agriculture and ensure surplus crops to go feed hungry Minnesotans, we shifted from earmarks for stakeholders (special interests) under AGRI to merit-based grants, expanded scholarships for agricultural education, extended the Farmer-Lender Mediation Act, increased landowners' rights when power companies seek to use their land and ensured our honey producers continue to thrive and pollinate our crops.
It's disappointing that it appears Minnesotans are being divided over this issue yet again. I represent a metropolitan district but am actively engaged with my family farm and that isn't unique among Metro citizens. We're all part of one Minnesota, and we should look for how we can unite around agriculture, rather than to reignite old conflicts. When we work together, we work for the benefit of all Minnesotans. I look forward to working with the new committee chairs to build on the progress of the past two years.
In April, Pioneer Press Outdoors writer Dave Orrick reported in South St. Paul lawmaker Rick Hansen isn't easy to categorize:
. . .But he's also a hunter, farmer and small-business owner, putting him in a rare category at the Legislature.
As a former research assistant with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture whose master's thesis was on the "effects of fly ash on irrigated soils" and as a landowner who has about 150 acres enrolled in conservation programs, he has first-hand knowledge on the technical aspects of conservation, perhaps more than any of his colleagues. . . .
Hansen, who is married and has a 9-year-old son, traces his roots far from the metro.
He was raised in Freeborn County, along the Iowa border, the oldest of two boys. His father was a school bus driver and farmer who "tilled 40 acres by hand;" his mother was a substitute teacher. There were 26 kids in his high school. . . .
According to Hansen's Economic Interest Statement, the lawmaker owns 645 acres in Freeborn and Fillmore Counties. Perhaps even Senator Rosen might call that real ag.
Photo: The LTE in Agri-News.
If you appreciate Bluestem Prairie, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button below:
Email subscribers can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.