On Tuesday, with bipartisan support, the Minnesota Senate approved the omnibus agriculture bill. The bill, authored by Senator Bill Weber (R-Luverne), contains technical fixes and other provisions related to the state’s agricultural policy.
“The omnibus agriculture policy bill includes many needed technical fixes and other provisions brought to us by the Department of Agriculture – many of which were vetoed by the governor last year,” said Senator Weber, chair of the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy Committee. “This bill makes sure our state’s vibrant agriculture programs, from saltwater aquaculture to advanced biofuels, are functioning properly and serving the residents of Minnesota.”
The bill, Senate File 1859, largely includes noncontroversial technical changes to Minnesota law, including a regulatory framework for the state’s budding saltwater aquaculture industry, an extension of the Minnesota Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council, changes to inspection powers of local boards of health, and changes to expand the loan program under the Rural Finance Authority. The bill also includes provisions protecting farmers from regulatory overreach by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, prohibiting feedlot permits from regulating pasture activity and ensuring that “natural deposits of manure” are not considered discharges into the state’s waters.
The bill awaits action by the House of Representatives, where it will head to conference committee.
Senator Bill Weber, of Luverne, represents communities in Cottonwood, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock counties in the Minnesota Senate. Senator Weber serves as chair of the Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy Committee.