On Tuesday, Senator Bill Weber (R-Luverne), chair of the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy Committee, was present as Governor Tim Walz ceremonially signed the agriculture budget into law.
“I was glad to be present as the governor signed this bipartisan legislation into law,” said Senator Weber. “This bill is a result of bipartisan cooperation and prioritizes farm families and development across Greater Minnesota. At a time where farm income is on a multi-year decline, this bill includes investments in programs that aim to expand markets and improve bottom lines while recognizing the struggle to make ends meet.”
In a May special session, the legislature passed a comprehensive agriculture, rural development, and affordable housing budget bill that received bipartisan support in both chambers. The bill, which takes effect on July 1, places an emphasis on rural broadband expansion, invests in affordable manufactured housing and homeownership programs, prioritizes value-added agriculture opportunities that directly impact farmers, and increases resources for farmer mental health services.
The bill includes a $5 million one-time investment in an innovative soybean processing and research facility near the University of Minnesota – Crookston that aims to increase profitability for soybean farmers. Additionally, the legislation makes a $5 million one-time investment in the Dairy Assistance Investment Relief Initiative (DAIRI) to provide financial aid to dairy farmers who are facing historically low milk prices. Further, the bill funds the Minnesota Border-to-Border Rural Broadband expansion program with an additional $40 million. Finally, the bill prioritizes the most affordable forms of housing in Minnesota and places an emphasis on workforce housing and homeownership and makes a significant investment in homelessness prevention programs.
“We came together in the end to pass critical funding for so many areas and programs – and the end result is a compromise that will make our state better,” said Senator Weber.
Senator Bill Weber, of Luverne, represents communities in Cottonwood, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock counties in the Minnesota Senate. He serves as chair of the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development, and Housing Policy Committee.