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2021 Special Session

Omnibus agriculture law allocates $139 million for biennium

Biennial appropriations for the Department of Agriculture and other farm-related programs, boards and agencies are included in the omnibus agriculture finance law.

Effective July 1, 2021, the law appropriates $139.3 million from the General Fund for the 2022-23 biennium, an increase of $12.6 million over base. It appropriates:

• $117.97 million to the Department of Agriculture;

• $12.1 million to the Board of Animal Health; and

• $8.6 million to the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute.

[MORE: View the spreadsheet]

The law also appropriates $700,000 for administrative costs to the Department of Employment and Economic Development to manage the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program (Art. 2, Sec. 2).

Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko) and Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) are the sponsors.


Department of Agriculture

The $117.97 million to fund the Department of Agriculture includes money for protection services, agricultural marketing and development, agriculture, bioenergy, bioproduct advancement, and administration and financial assistance. (Art. 1, Sec. 2)

Protection services

Money appropriated in this category includes funds for the department to manage regulatory programs, such as the Pesticide and Fertilizer Management, Laboratory Services, Plant Protection, Dairy and Meat Inspection, and Food and Feed Safety divisions. Appropriations include:

• $1.7 million to upgrade equipment in the department’s analytical laboratory;

• $450,000 in additional funding for the noxious weed and invasive plant program;

• $350,000 for compensation for livestock destroyed or crippled by wolves;

• $310,000 for compensation for crop damage;

• $220,000 for additional meat and poultry inspection services; and

• $50,000 in fiscal year 2022 for the industrial hemp program for IT development.

Agricultural marketing and development

The law appropriates the following amounts for agricultural marketing and development. The appropriations include:

• $1.3 million for continuation of the dairy development and profitability enhancement grant programs;

• $372,000 to fund grants for the Minnesota Grown promotion;

• $200,000 for farm safety grant and outreach programs;

• $100,000 for additional funding for mental health outreach and support to farmers and others in the agricultural community; and

• $50,000 in fiscal year 2022 to expand international marketing opportunities for farmers and value-added processors, including in-market representation in Taiwan.

Agriculture, bioenergy, and bioproduct advancement

The law appropriates $50.7 million for agriculture, bioenergy, and bioproduct advancement, including $18.6 million to fund agriculture research, extension and technology transfer programs at the University of Minnesota, including:

• $4 million to fund grants administered by the Minnesota Agriculture Education Leadership Council;

• $1.2 million for the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station’s agriculture rapid response fund;

• $900,000 for the cultivated wild rice breeding project at the North Central Research and Outreach Center; and

• $700,000 for potato breeding projects.

The remaining $11.8 million is for the University of Minnesota to spend on unspecified agriculture programs, with the only stipulation being that up to $2 million must be used for research on avian influenza, salmonella and other turkey-related diseases.

The remaining $32.1 million will fund agricultural growth, research and innovation programs administered by the Department of Agriculture to promote the advancement of the state’s agricultural and renewable energy industries.

Some of the incentives and promotions funded include:

• $9 million for incentive payments to advanced biofuel producers, renewable chemical producers, biomass thermal producers and building siding producers;

• $6 million in grants for equipment purchased to meet the state’s biofuel replacement goals;

• $2.8 million for livestock investment grants;

• $2 million for distribution in equal amounts to each of the state’s county fairs to preserve and promote Minnesota agriculture;

• $1.6 million to develop and enhance farm-to-school markets for Minnesota farmers;

• $1.5 million for grants to facilitate the startup, modernization or expansion of meat, poultry, egg and milk processing facilities; and

• $1.2 million for urban youth agricultural education or urban agriculture community development.

Administration and Financial Assistance

Other appropriations to the Department of Agriculture include $19.8 million for administration and financial assistance programs, including:

• $3.4 million to Second Harvest Heartland for its six food banks in the state;

• $2.9 million for low-interest agriculture loans;

• $948,000 to county and district agricultural societies and associations;

• $724,000 for farm advocate services;

• $500,000 to fund Minnesota Agricultural Education and Leadership Council grant programs;

• $476,000 to state colleges and universities for statewide mental health counseling support for farm families and agricultural business operators;

• $300,000 for grants to the Center for Rural Policy and Development;

• $300,000 to establish an emerging farmer office with a full-time emerging farmer outreach coordinator; and

• $150,000 in fiscal year 2022 for a matching grant to Central Lakes College to develop a meat cutting and butchery program.

Board of Animal Health

The Board of Animal Health will receive $12.1 million in the 2022-23 biennium, a $750,000, or 6.6%, increase over the 2020-21 base.

The law stipulates that $400,000 of the total appropriation must be used to fund “agricultural emergency preparedness and response.”

The board’s mission is to protect the health of the state’s livestock and domestic animals through education and cooperation with veterinarians, producers, owners and communities. (Art. 1, Sec. 3)

Agricultural Utilization Research Institute

The law will fund the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute with $8.6 million to continue its mission “to develop new uses for agricultural products through science and technology.”

That figure is $800,000 more than the institute’s 2020-21 biennial budget. The law will appropriate $500,000 in fiscal year 2022 for a matching grant “to organizations to acquire, host, and operate a mobile slaughter unit” and $300,000 toward hiring a meat scientist. (Art. 1, Sec. 4)

New Laws 2021

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HF0008* / SF0025 / CH3
House Chief Author: Sundin
Senate Chief Author: Westrom
Effective Dates: See chapter summary in the file link above.
* The legislative bill marked with an asterisk denotes the file submitted to the governor.