ST. PAUL – State Representative Dean Urdahl today highlighted portions of the Agriculture Bill passed in the closing hours before a partial government shutdown.
“Our Ag Bill contains funding for important agricultural programs that will help farmers and livestock owners grow and maintain their operations,” Urdahl said.
“Providing $33 million to expand the ethanol industry is a major victory for corn growers and will help make Minnesota the “Middle East of the Midwest” in terms of fuel production,” Urdahl added.
Urdahl authored five bills included in the 600-page bill. Among them are eliminating interest payments on Rural Finance Authority loans, directing $295,000 for pesticide monitoring in ground and surface waters, and clarified authority for food slaughter and transportation.
Urdahl also authored legislation to redirect millions of dollars to programs that boost agricultural commodities. Urdahl explained that the money will be available because it was previously allotted to ethanol producers but as more and more ethanol plants become ineligible for state subsidies, this money is available for other agricultural uses.
“We’ve taken money that was slated to leave the ag community and made sure it stays with the farmers where it belongs,” Urdahl said. Urdahl also highlighted $2.35 million in spending to monitor animal diseases and protect the public health.
In addition to agriculture, the bill funded state parks possibly including Greenleaf State Park near Litchfield, which will remain open over the Fourth of July weekend.