Senate Republicans prioritize farmer mental health, rural broadband, & affordable workforce housing in bipartisan agriculture budget bill

Also invests in value-added agriculture opportunities for MN farmers, manufactured housing, & home ownership

On a broad bipartisan vote, the Minnesota Senate passed legislation championed by Senate Republicans to fund agriculture, rural development, and affordable housing in Minnesota. The comprehensive budget bill places an emphasis on rural broadband expansion, invests in affordable housing and home ownership, prioritizes value-added agriculture opportunities that directly impact farmers, and increases resources for farmer mental health services.

“In this bill, we are focused on the well-being of our farmers. From rural broadband to home-ownership initiatives, we are prioritizing improved resources to combat the negative economic climate farmers are facing,” said Senator Mike Goggin (R-Red Wing), vice-chair of the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Finance Committee. “One way to support them is through mental health services. They are often faced with questions of ‘what’s next?’ and we want them to be able to turn to someone for help. They can receive counseling and encouragement through the difficulties they experience.”

Specifically, the bill makes a one-time investment in an innovative soybean processing and research facility near the University of Minnesota – Crookston, invests in the “Dairy Modernization and Innovation” program to help small dairy farms finance the modernization of their farm infrastructure, such as robotic milking equipment, funds the “Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance” program, and increases “dairy development grants” to aid farmers in creating new business plans.

Additionally, the budget legislation prioritizes the most affordable forms of housing in Minnesota and places an emphasis on workforce housing and home ownership.

As a whole, the bill funds the day-to-day operations of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, and the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program. In total, this bill allocates over $258 million in funding, an increase of nearly $4 million over the last two-year budget.

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