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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Legislative Update (5-8-15)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dear Neighbors,

Members of the Senate and House Rural Caucus hosted a grill out on the capitol lawn on Tuesday afternoon in support of Minnesota turkey producers who are suffering as a result of the avian flu outbreak. In total, we were able to serve 500 turkey burgers to legislators and staffers to help reinforce the fact that, despite the outbreak, Minnesota turkeys are still safe to eat. Thanks to all who participated!

Here I am pictured with Rep. Tim Miller from Prinsburg, Governor Dayton, and Rep. Dave Baker of Willmar.

More help for farmers affected by the avian flu outbreak came this week by way of the Agriculture Finance bill. The bill, which passed on Monday with strong bipartisan support, provides additional funds to all involved state agencies in order to better prevent and respond to the avian influenza outbreak that has devastated Minnesota turkey flocks.

In addition to the emergency funds allocated to help address the avian flu outbreak, the bill also appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture, the Agriculture Utilization Research Institute, and the Board of Animal Health. Other highlights from the bill include:


  • Strengthen production Ag research to improve yields and strengthen crops


  • Pay unpaid claims due to wolf depredation


  • Commission a livestock industry study to identify causes of growth or decline of poultry and livestock production in the Upper Midwest over the last ten years


  • Increase grants to Second Harvest Heartland so more milk can be purchased for food banks


  • Streamline food safety regulations between the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Health


  • Improve the farm-to-foodshelf program by making it permanent in the out years, allowing farmers to move product that they otherwise have no market for to food banks, and recovering part of their cost of production

The legislation also includes a provision that would create three production-based bioenergy grant programs administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) relating to advanced biofuel production, renewable chemical production, and biomass production.

Agriculture is such a large part of our way of life and the economy of southwestern Minnesota. This bill will help to ensure that our farms and agricultural industry remain strong and viable now and in the future.

Thank you for taking time to read this week’s update. I will have more news for you next week as session continues its march toward the May 18th adjournment date.

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I welcome the opportunity to speak with about your ideas on how we can make state government work better. I can be reached by phone at 651-296-5374 or via email at


Have a great weekend,