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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Alice Hausman (DFL)

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Minnesota House Approves Agriculture and Housing Budget

Friday, April 26, 2019

Minnesota House of Representatives

Press Release

Minnesota House Approves Agriculture and Housing Budget

St. Paul, MN – The Minnesota House approved a new Agriculture and Housing budget today. The House DFL’s budget supports Minnesota’s agriculture industries, invests in food access programs, and provides a $26 million funding increase for housing programs. The bill passed on a vote of 99 to 28. 

“The success of Minnesota farmers is essential to the economic success of our entire state,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Our budget supports Minnesota’s farm families during this difficult time. We’re also increasing investments in housing programs that are critical for security and stability for families struggling with housing affordability.”

In addition to funding the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA), the budget bill invests in agriculture research, protection services, marketing and development, financial assistance, bioenergy, and the Board of Animal Health. The budget sees an overall 4.5 percent increase in funding for MDA.

“The Minnesota House DFL Budget supports Minnesota farmers’ immediate needs and takes strong action to limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease among our whitetail deer herd,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “House DFLers also support strong investments in housing that will help Minnesota families thrive and Minnesota businesses grow.”

House Democrats have already passed stand-alone legislation addressing the mental health crisis in farming communities for the current fiscal year, with no action from the Republican-controlled Senate. The Agriculture and Housing budget continues that investment by strengthening farmer mental health counseling services and the work of Farm Advocates in the coming biennium.

“This budget lifts up Minnesota’s farming communities and sparks innovation in agriculture,” said Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL – Austin), Chair of the Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division. “Minnesota has a diverse and varied agricultural and food production industry, something that's reflected by the priorities in this legislation. Working with a much-appreciated biennial increase, we were able to invest in farmer mental health, farm-to-school programs, market growth, and research that will put Minnesota at the forefront of the industry."

The Housing components of the budget increase investments to address homelessness, build more workforce housing, and provide financial empowerment and training to help low-income renters achieve homeownership.

“Over the course of the last few months, we have heard about the growing crisis Minnesota is facing in everything from homelessness, rental assistance programs, housing preservation, new development and affordable homeownership,” said Rep. Alice Hausman, Chair of Housing Policy and Finance Division. “This bill makes progress in workforce housing, rental assistance for people with mental illness and stable housing for students experiencing homelessness. While the need is greater than we can fully fund, we are moving in the right direction and will continue our efforts in the future.”

Other highlights of the Agriculture and Housing budget include:

  • Chronic Wasting Disease Research
  • Industrial Hemp Development
  • Lead Safe Homes
  • Homework Starts with Home

The Minnesota Senate had passed their Agriculture budget earlier this week. Lawmakers from each chamber will now form a conference committee to craft consensus legislation.