Westrom to co-chair agriculture budget, serve on environment budget conference committees

Senator Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) has been appointed by Senate leadership to serve as co-chair of the Minnesota Legislature’s Agriculture Conference Committee and as a member of the Environment Conference Committee. Each conference committee is comprised of five members from the Senate and five members from the House. The committee members will work collaboratively over the coming days to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of the Agriculture and Environment Finance Bills.

“As co-chair of the Agriculture Conference Committee and as a member of the Environment Conference Committee, I look forward to working with my colleagues to make critical investments in our state’s agriculture industry and reform Minnesota’s buffer law,” said Senator Westrom. “For too long, farmers have been burdened by government bureaucracy and unnecessary regulations. Our investments in agriculture aim to bring value to agriculture products and the field, not more bureaucracy in St. Paul.”

Passed earlier this month, the bipartisan Senate Agriculture Finance Bill invests $118 million in Minnesota’s agriculture industry, ensuring stability and growth in Minnesota’s economy through value-added agricultural investments. The Senate Environment and Natural Resources Finance Bill, which was passed on a bipartisan vote earlier this session, consolidates funding streams and reduces wasteful spending in investing $274.1 million in keeping our air and water clean. Further, it includes language that delays Minnesota’s buffer law by two years and reimburses farmers for the government mandated taking of farmland out of production.

Conference committees have already begun their work, holding hearings last week featuring public testimony. The committees will continue to meet until an agreement is reached. Once the conference committee report is passed, the report will head back to both the Senate and House for final approval. If passed by both bodies, the legislation will be sent to the governor for his signature in order to become law.