The Minnesota House of Representatives announced on May 4 that it had approved of a finance bill to fund Minnesota agriculture and rural development programs over the next two years. With a vote of 110-18, the bill received significant bipartisan support.
State Representative Rod Hamilton, chairman of the Minnesota House Agriculture Finance Committee, designed the bill to distribute $108 million. This money will go toward Minnesota agriculture initiatives, such as food safety and livestock research.
"The top priority of the ag finance bill is to protect and preserve our food supply," said Hamilton. "Investments in ag education, research, and the biobased industrial products industry will also greatly benefit the State of Minnesota now and in the future."
However, these aren’t the only concerns that the bill will target. Other priorities include addressing unpaid claims due to wolf depredation, maintaining food safety regulations and increasing grants to Second Harvest Heartland.
"The University of Minnesota Extension Service released a report stating that potential new biobased industrial products facilities in Minnesota have the potential to eventually contribute an estimated $837.6 million in economic activity to the state’s economy," Hamilton continued. "This is a program that over time could create thousands of jobs and pay dividends to our state for decades to come."
The legislation also includes three production-based bioenergy grant programs. These grants will be administered by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in relation to advanced biofuel production.