Tuesday May 30th, Governor Mark Dayton signed all of the spending bills passed by the 2017 legislature for the 2018-19 budget years. Minne-sota Farmers Union (MFU) was pleased to see many of the priorities the organization listed prior to session having positive outcomes for farmers including a strong agriculture budget, buffer and road ditch mowing modifications, a tax credit for agriculture land relating to school capital improvement levies, action on health care, and other important issues.
“MFU would like to thank legislators, Governor Dayton and his administration for working hard to ensure that Minnesota farmers have the resources and support they need to prosper and continue farming” said MFU President Gary Wertish. Among the highlights from the legislative session for agriculture that MFU supported are: -Passage of a 40% credit to farmers for the portion of their property taxes coming from a new or existing school capital improvement levy. -$35 million dollars in bonding dollars for the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) to help make loans to farmers. -Creation of a tax credit for renting or selling land to a beginning farmer. -Ability for farmers to get an 8 month waiver for buffer compliance of public waters, option to use alternative practices and clarifications on what waters are covered by buffer law. -Passage of $300 plus dollars for health insurance premium relief. -New and continued investments in Industrial hemp, farm safety, dairy, palmer amaranth control, county fairs, livestock and value-added grant programs, wolf depredation, MinnesotaGrown, and other programs. -One-year moratorium on changes to state ditch mowing regulations. -A transportation funding package to help improve rural roads and bridges. MFU will be working in the coming weeks to educate members about these changes to state laws and how they will impact for farmers.