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Anderson: Bill missed opportunity to aid ag

The Minnesota House on Thursday approved an omnibus finance package (Senate File 2226) that Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, said contains a mix of good agricultural provisions and some missed opportunities to aid the industry.

“I don’t think this bill does enough for production agriculture,” Anderson said. “We need to do more to help farmers in Minnesota during these difficult economic times and this bill missed some good opportunities to do that.”

While Andersons said he was pleased that the bill addressed rural mental health grants, he was disappointed proposals to increase the amount of funding for milk Second Harvest Heartland purchases for its food shelves was denied by the House majority. Anderson also said some language in the bill related to Chronic Wasting Disease among deer could prove problematic.

“I realize that CWD is a tough topic, potentially pitting hunters against farmers,” Anderson said. “The provision in the bill requiring double fencing at cervidae farms by July 1 could be a huge financial hardship with a tight time constraint to get that done.

“So for those reasons, I didn’t support the bill when it came off the floor today. I hope when this bill comes back from a conference committee it is in better shape to help support the ag industry. We heard time and time again on the House floor that agriculture is the backbone of Minnesota’s economy and it is my hope we do more to put action behind those words and take advantage of this opportunity to make it the priority we say it is.”

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