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Legislator of the Year
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Legislator of the Year

Each year Minnesota Milk recognizes one legislator that demonstrates support to dairy farmers by their actions at the State Capitol.

 


2015 Legislator of the Year

Representative Denny McNamara

The Minnesota Milk Producers Association (MMPA) has named Representative Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) its 2015 Legislator of the Year for playing a pivotal role for the dairy industry during the recent legislative session. The award was presented during the Minnesota Milk Expo in St. Cloud December 2.

 

McNamara, from the metropolitan suburb of Hastings, started a tree care and landscaping business, which according to MMPA gave him the common sense know-how dairy farmers need in every state representative. That industry know-how, along with his leadership qualities, thrust McNamara into the chairmanship of the House Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Finance Committee. “That committee is arguably more important to dairy farmers than the agriculture committee,” said Pat Lunemann, a Clarissa dairy farmer and president of MMPA who presented the award.

 

As the chief author of the Environment and Agriculture Omnibus Finance bill this past session, McNamara worked closely with other agriculture leaders to pass a very large, multi-agency budget bill that MMPA labeled as fair for farmers. The final budget bill did not include millions of dollars in food industry and dairy farm fee increases that some had originally proposed. “Representative McNamara’s efforts were crucial in protecting the dairy industry’s bottom line,” said Lunemann.

 

McNamara successfully supported many of Minnesota Milk Producers Association initiatives, including:

  • Environmental permit streamlining;
  • Fair and reasonable conservation buffer laws; and
  • Funding for dairy research and dairy farm reinvestment.

“With what was perhaps the most significant moral victory Minnesota Milk has witnessed in a long time, Representative McNamara was one of the pivotal legislators to negotiate with the Governor to repeal the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Review Board,” added Lunemann. “While opposition to the Review Board was never solely about the dairy industry, we became the poster child for the Board’s redundancy and its role in the delay and unpredictability of the environmental permitting process.”

 

Representative McNamara realized it was time for the MPCA Citizen’s Board to go, and played a key role in making that reform happen in the 2015 session and special session. According to MMPA, McNamara has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to common sense policies that create job growth and economic activity. His leadership during the 2015 legislative session supported a free marketplace, did not place undue burdens on local businesses and helped people keep their shopping baskets full.

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2014 Legislator of the Year

State Representative Rod Hamilton

State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-District 22-B: Mountain Lake, Minn.) was named the 2014 Legislator of the Year by Minnesota Milk Producers Association for demonstrating support to dairy farmers, the dairy industry and rural Minnesota by his actions at the State Capitol. The award was announced during Minnesota Milk’s Dairy Conference and Expo on December 3 in St. Cloud, Minn.

 

Representative Hamilton is a strong and consistent voice for agriculture interests. Over his five terms in the State Legislature, his support for efforts that strengthen Minnesota farms and rural communities has not wavered. Throughout his tenure, his leadership, along with the help of others, successfully shaped the state’s environmental compliance and permitting process to provide more clarity, consistency and timeliness for today’s livestock farms.

 

He has successfully supported many of Minnesota Milk Producers Association’s initiatives, including the repeal of business-to-business taxes on agricultural equipment repair, maintaining the 48 hour ag work week, and continued funding for the Livestock Investment Grant program. In 2012, while Chair of the Ag Committee, he oversaw the passage of Minnesota’s Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Authority, a key element in building a stronger base of support for dairy development in Minnesota.

 

“We owe Representative Hamilton a debt of gratitude for all he has done to bring common sense to agriculture policy. We have several battles yet to fight and win at the Capitol, but our prospects for success are much stronger with him on our side,” said Pat Lunemann, President of Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

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2013 Legislator of the Year

State Representative Jeanne Poppe

State Representative Jeanne Poppe (DFL-District 27B: Austin, MN) has been selected as the 2013 Legislator of the year by Minnesota Milk Producers Association for demonstrating support to dairy farmers, the dairy industry and rural Minnesota by her actions at the State Capitol.

 

The award was announced during the Midwest Dairy Expo on December 3 in St. Cloud, Minn.

Representative Poppe serves as Agriculture Policy Committee Chair and on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Finance Committee where she has fought to keep the funding level intact for the Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) program.

 

Before Representative Poppe’s strong interaction, funds in the AGRI account were being earmarked for a variety of purposes – some of them not directed to agriculture. AGRI is the sole-source of funding for the Livestock Investment Grant Program, a critical tool in helping Minnesota dairy farms improve and modernize their operations.

 

“We appreciate the time and attention Representative Poppe has provided dairy farmers and her positive working relationship with us. We are fortunate to have her working closely with us on issues affecting the Milk Producers,” said Pat Lunemann, President of Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

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2011 Legislator of the Year

State Representative Paul Anderson

State Representative Paul Anderson (R-District 13A: Starbuck, MN) has been selected as the 2011 Legislator of the Year by Minnesota Milk Producers Association for demonstrating support to dairy farmers, the dairy industry and rural Minnesota by his actions at the State Capitol. 

 

The award was announced during the Midwest Dairy Expo on November 29 in St. Cloud, Minn.

Representative Anderson is the Chief Author of the bill to create Minnesota’s Dairy Research, Teaching and Consumer Education Authority. By doing this, he has helped create a stronger base of support for dairy development in Minnesota.

 

Representative Anderson has also taken a leadership role in efforts to address the timing and the function of the state feedlot permitting process. He, along with others have helped to provide the foundation for more clarity, consistency and timeliness for environmental compliance, permitting and review.

 

“We appreciate both what Representative Anderson does for dairy farmers and how he goes about his business. In an era when the rhetoric can get pretty heated, we are glad to have a steady hand like his working closely with us on issues affecting the Milk Producers,” said Pat Lunemann, President of Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

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2010 Legislator of the Year

State Representative Mary Ellen Otremba

State Representative Mary Ellen Otremba (DFL-District 11B: Long Prairie, MN) has been selected as the 2010 Legislator of the Year by Minnesota Milk Producers Association for demonstrating support to dairy farmers, the dairy industry and rural Minnesota by her actions at the State Capitol.

 

The award was announced during the Midwest Dairy Expo on November 30th in St. Cloud, Minn.

 

For the past 13 years, Representative Otremba has served as Chair of the Agriculture, Rural Economies and Veterans Affairs Committee and as a member of the Agriculture Finance Committee. In her capacity as Policy Committee Chair and as a member of the Finance Committee, she has authored or co-authored dozens

of bills of interest and concern to the Minnesota Milk Producers Association.

 

She was Chief Author of legislation to provide milk producer payments to beginning dairy operators, co-authored the Livestock Investment Grant Program legislation and subsequent bills to direct funding to the program, and worked on University agricultural research initiatives, milk truck weight exemptions, bills to exempt milk sold in vending machines from sales tax, and legislation to provide for the sale of school milk in single service plastic containers.

 

More often than not, Representative Otremba also served as one of the five House Conferees on the Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Bill that would set the budget for the Department of Agriculture.

 

“Mary Ellen is a true friend to dairy farmers and we are very fortunate to have had such a good friend at the State Capitol,” stated Pat Lunemann, Minnesota Milk President and dairy farmer from Clarissa, Minn. “As Representative Otremba enters into her retirement from public service, we just wanted to extend our gratitude for all she has done and our best wishes for a productive, healthy, and happy retirement.”

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