ST. PAUL - The House overwhelmingly passed an agriculture and veterans policy bill co-authored by Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, recently.
“This bill contains some important measures in both agriculture and veterans affairs,” Urdahl said. “I did offer an amendment to try to streamline operations in the Department of Agriculture, but it did not prevail.”
Here is an overview of the most notable components:
• adds an official from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or a peace officer from the county sheriff’s office to those who could make a personal inspection of a farmer’s livestock loss due to a gray wolf;
• permits the agriculture commissioner to waive certain review fees for businesses that sell prepackaged foods, such as video stores;
• repeals the loan incentive program for native grasses and wildflower seed production;
• nonprofit farms less than 40 acres in size could use profits for educational purposes and be exempt from corporate farm land requirements;
• requires certain conditions to be met before Minnesota would be granted a federal waiver in regards to Ethanol-15, including all cars able to use the ethanol mixture regardless of year made;
• expands education benefits for survivors of a military veteran who died as a result of military service; and
• permits the commissioner of veterans affairs to determine a suitable site and plan for three new state veterans cemeteries in northeastern, southeastern and southwestern Minnesota.
An amendment to build a racino was offered, but ruled out of order by the majority. The profits would have assisted funding agricultural and rural development, research and development of bioscience and medical technology business and employment opportunities and stadium funding for the Minnesota Vikings and St. Paul Saints.
The bill (S.F. 2737) unanimously passed the Senate and now a conference committee is expected to work out the differences.
Dean Urdahl represents District 18B in the Minnesota House of Representatives. The district includes most of Meeker County and a portion of Wright County. This is Urdahl’s fourth term in the Legislature after being elected in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.