Agriculture in Minnesota remains a cornerstone of our economy, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of revenue each year, which benefits all of Minnesota including our urban areas. A vibrant ag economy isn’t just about farm families having a decent income. It’s also about making rural Minnesota vital and ensuring the future health of our small towns and communities.
In real time, farming and rural Minnesota face potential harm by ill-advised trade threats and potential retreat from the global market.
About half of all soybean acreage in Minnesota is planted for export. Minnesota pork producers exported nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars last year, with China being the second largest market. Thoughtless threats and bad policies could result in money lost not just from the farmers’ bottom line, but from Main Street Minnesota. What are some of the important things to keep in mind about keeping ag healthy for Minnesota?
We need fair trade policies that recognize the role of every country doing what it does best. One of the things the US does very well is produce high-quality food to feed a growing world population.
We need a Farm Bill that promotes environmentally-responsible production, access to affordable credit and reasonable support to ensure an adequate and affordable supply of food. Critics sometimes forget that American consumers pay only about 10 percent of their income for food – that’s less than almost any other country. A major reason for this bounty is the Farm Bill’s investment in promoting and protecting the supply chain of food from farm to processor to our homes.
About 80 percent of the cost of the Farm Bill is in nutrition programs. It’s clear that Democrats and Republicans will not find common ground on the role of government in helping people at times in their lives when they are vulnerable. A core of independent thinkers and senators will make the difference, not giving in to demonizing the poor while also respecting the taxes paid by hard-working families.