Farmers who need help navigating the sometimes confusing regulatory roadmap of state government would have a new resource to steer them to their goals if a provision of the omnibus agriculture finance bill eventually becomes law.
The House Agriculture Finance Committee began its hearings on HF1437, as amended, Friday afternoon. The bill would appropriate $76.5 million during the upcoming biennium for a number of different agriculture programs that have been discussed throughout the session.
This includes the provision establishing an ombudsman office in the Department of Agriculture created to provide “one-stop access” for people who need assistance when trying to obtain or renew licenses, follow rules or resolve disputes with state agencies.
“I believe everybody who wanted to have a hearing of a bill, we did grant that,” Hamilton said.
A number of testifiers spoke in support of the bill, which currently has no Senate companion, including representatives of the Minnesota Farmer’s Union and the Great Plains Institute.
However, Dan Skogen, Agricultural Utilization Research Institute government relations director, told the committee he was disappointed his organization was being asked to take a 30 percent funding cut in a year when more money was available for agriculture.
The bill slices the AURI appropriation by $2 million during the upcoming biennium to $5.2 million. Skogen said he knew Hamilton had done what he could to preserve the funding, but that higher targets for the committee were needed.
Hamilton said there would likely be a number of amendments to the bill when the committee holds its next hearing.
What would HF1437 do?
The bill includes measures that would:
What’s in the bill?
The following are selected bills that have been incorporated in part or in whole into the omnibus agriculture finance bill:
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