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Minnesota Legislature

House passes omnibus agriculture policy bill

The House voted 132-1 Tuesday to approve the omnibus agriculture policy bill.

Sponsored by Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin), HF4285 would modify state seed and noxious weed laws and laws governing perishable farm product purchases, state loan programs, egg, meat and poultry inspections, farm safety, grain buyers, emerging farmers, hemp, agricultural education and pet food.

The bill includes initiatives requested by Gov. Tim Walz and the Department of Agriculture, along with provisions from other bills heard this session.

It now goes to the Senate where Sen. Bill Weber (R-Luverne) is the sponsor.

The bill would:

  • eliminate licensing and bonding requirements for wholesale product purchases designed to protect sellers of perishable agriculture products if the buyer reneges;
  • modifiy seed and noxious weed law, including regulatory categories for noxious weeds and the management plans used to control noxious weeds;
  • classify data the Agriculture Department gets from industrial hemp applicants and licensees as private;
  • create a working group the agriculture commissioner must periodically convene to support emerging farmers. The group must include women, veterans, people with disabilities, American Indian or Alaskan Natives, and communities of color;
  • allow the agriculture commissioner to award grants to farmers and schools that retrofit tractors with rollover prevention devices;
  • allow the Agriculture Department to award grants to farmers who purchase grain storage safety equipment and create a farm safety outreach program;
  • give veterinarians immunity from civil or criminal liability when they report suspected animal cruelty or put down a suffering animal;
  • appropriate $5 million for soybean processing and research in Crookston;
  • require the Agriculture Department to develop recommendations on how best to provide financial and technical workplace safety assistance to farmers; and
  • require the Agriculture Department to prepare a report outlining the state’s ability to meet the petroleum replacement goal in Minnesota law and utilize biofuels to achieve the greenhouse gas reductions no later than Jan. 15.

 


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