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Agriculture omnibus bill

Published (6/1/2010)
By Patty Ostberg
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Restrictions on those who can own easements for wind power, along with increased late filing fees for pesticide dealers and tree trimmer registry businesses are included in the omnibus agriculture, rural economies and veterans affairs finance law.

Sponsored by Rep. Al Juhnke (DFL-Willmar) and Sen. Dan Skogen (DFL-Hewitt), the law will:

• add a university extension agent, an official from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a peace officer from the county sheriff’s office or a licensed veterinarian to those who are able to make a personal inspection of a farmer’s livestock loss due to a gray wolf;

• require the Department of Agriculture to make it a goal to issue or deny environmental and resource management permits within 150 days;

• consider horses raised for riding, driving, farm or ranch work, competition, racing recreation, sale, or as breeding as livestock for the purposes of financial transactions and collateral;

• make it unlawful for someone to advertise tree care or tree trimming services without being registered;

• permit the agriculture commissioner to waive certain review fees for businesses that sell prepackaged foods, such as video stores;

• repeal the loan incentive program for Native Grasses and Wildflower Seed Production;

• allow nonprofit farms less than 40 acres in size, and those less than 160 acres prior to Aug. 1, 2010, to use profits for educational purposes and be exempt from corporate farm land requirements;

• add easements taken by individuals or businesses for the use of wind rights to restrictions on owning agricultural lands;

• permit cities and towns to charge fees and spend money for county extension work, such as 4-H programs;

• require certain conditions to be met before Minnesota will be granted a federal waiver in regards to Ethanol-15, including that all cars could use the ethanol mixture, and giving the Department of Commerce the ability to specify how long it could take gas stations to set up for the ability to deliver E-15;

• require banks to extend credit to feed mills for 45 days at the beginning of the mediation process, resulting in mills being paid for that feed;

• require the agriculture commissioner to identify and analyze industrial hemp laws in Canada and 30 other nations and report to law enforcement how to differentiate between industrial hemp and marijuana growing in fields;

• detail procedures on the proper way to fold and present the state flag; and

• permit the veterans affairs commissioner to determine a suitable site and plan for three new state veterans cemeteries in northeastern, southeastern and southwestern Minnesota.

The law has various effective dates.

HF2678/ SF2737*/CH333

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