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Minnesota Milk Minute - May 27, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016   (0 Comments)
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Minnesota Milk Minute 

May 27, 2016

A reliable source of timely market information, news and current events. 

In This Issue

Session Concludes with 50 Percent of Big Bills Done; Special Session Looming?

Deadline Tuesday: Nominate a Dairy Farmer for Producer of the Year

April Milk Production Highest Since 2003

Mark Davis Receives Recognition

Colin Peterson, NMPF Speak to MPP Program

Seminar Addresses Farm Transfer, Estate Planning 

 

Upcoming Events

May 31 - Deadline for Producer of the Year nominations

June 20 - Deadline for Minnesota Milk scholarship applications


Featured Members

Special thanks to
Minnesota Milk
Associate Members.
This week’s featured members:

Schaefer Ventilation Equipment

St. Joseph Equipment

Summit Glove

United Farmers Coop

Unity Bank

 


Session Concludes with 50 Percent of Big Bills Done; Special Session Looming? (Daryn McBeth, Gray Plant Mooty)

​The 2016 Minnesota Legislative Session came to a halt Sunday at midnight, when the Minnesota House and Senate had to stop working on bills and legislative matters. The House adjourned sine die at 11:56 p.m., while the Senate worked until 12:02 a.m. that evening before coming back in session Monday only to hear speeches from members not seeking re-election, before adjourning sine die that afternoon.

Of the major priorities for the 11-week session, two were passed and are awaiting the governor’s signature, and two were unresolved. The House and Senate came to terms on a tax bill and a supplemental budget bill, but were not able to pass a bonding bill or a transportation bill.

Within the tax bill, providing $257 million in tax cuts and credits for 2017 (and each year hereafter), is a first-in-the-nation student loan tax credit and expansion of child care and working family tax credits. For agriculture, the bill created a 40 percent credit on the school levy portion of property tax on agricultural lands tied to a homestead. The tax bill also exempted the first $100,000 in business complexes’ market value from state property taxes, which will provide a benefit to small businesses in the amount of $115 million over the next biennium.

The 599-page supplemental budget bill utilized $182 million of the $900 million budget surplus for changes and increases to 2017 budget year spending. Included in the changes were $25 million for voluntary prekindergarten, $35 million in extra grants for broadband Internet development in rural areas and $35 million for addressing racial disparities.

The legislature attempted to combine capital investments (bonding) and transportation infrastructure into one package that ultimately did not come together for the governor’s signature. The House and Senate did each pass a bonding bill Sunday night, but due to dissimilar provisions addressing the proposed Southwest Light Rail “Green line” that would run from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, the bill failed. But for the light rail controversy, legislators did reach a deal on a bonding bill that would have allocated $995 million for infrastructure and transportation needs across the state.

The bonding bill included $3 million for backup electricity power generation in Litchfield, which would facilitate the expansion of the First District Association cheese processing plant to handle an additional 2 million pounds of milk per day. Other funds that failed as part of the stalled bonding bill included $35 million for the Rural Finance Authority to cash flow future loans; $600,000 for the Agriculture Utilization Research Institute (AURI) to make facility upgrades; and $2.2 million for laboratory equipment upgrades to the Department of Agriculture.

Because the bonding bill was so close to passing, and an agreement had been worked out on its final size and projects (except for the light rail issue, apparently), Governor Dayton is considering calling a special session to reconvene the Legislature for one day to pass the bill.

Here’s a recap of other dairy related items and how they fared this session:

  • Drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants: failed to pass as part of stalled efforts to authorize new identification standards meeting federal requirements for travel through airports and into federal buildings.
  • Manure field application drag lines/right of way use: Senator Koenen and Representative Drazkowski successfully passed a conference report, waiting for the governor’s signature as of this newsletter. We shared details in last week’s Milk Minute.
  • MAWQCP: The Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification Program received $2.5 million in funding needed to continue the program in 2017 and leverage $5 million in USDA NRCS funds for conservation and agriculture water quality.
  • AgREETT: The Legislature successfully restructured the Agriculture Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer fund created last year so that funding will ride with the College of Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota rather than the Department of Agriculture, making the grant application and proposal process much less cumbersome for commodity organizations applying for funding to address research needs.
  • Farm safety: a grant of $250,000 to the Department of Agriculture will help farmers retrofit eligible tractors with rollover protective equipment.
  • Buffers: earlier in the session the Legislature made changes to the buffer law from last year to clarify that new buffer requirements do not apply to private ditches and “benefited areas.” The tax bill also contained offset dollars for local units of government to properly reclassify agricultural lands that farmers convert to buffers so farmers have less burden of the property valuation and local governments are held harmless. 
  • VDL: the supplemental budget redirected unused avian influenza preparedness funding to the University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory to fund $600,000 in software upgrades and $283,000 in equipment.
  • U of M Morris: The Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, made up of dedicated state lottery dollars, provided $475,000 for the West Central Research and Outreach Center to study sustainable manure management and water quality systems with the University of Minnesota - Morris dairy herd.

As the Legislature possibly reconvenes in a special session called by the governor (likely in early June), and to begin to assess what the 2017 Legislature may look like starting with nine retirements in the House and 12 in the Senate, look for future Minnesota Milk Minute updates!


Deadline Tuesday: Nominate a Dairy Farmer for Producer of the Year

Nominations for the Minnesota Milk Producer of the Year award are due no later than next Tuesday, May 31. Each Minnesota Milk member can nominate one dairy farmer by emailing or calling us with the following information: your name and company, farm name you wish to nominate, and the nominee’s contact information including mailing address, email address, telephone number and cellphone number. Learn more at www.mnmilk.org/poy.


April Milk Production Highest Since 2003 (Dairy Herd Management)

The United States Department of Agriculture says April milk production was up 1.2 percent over last year. More disturbing: Cow numbers were up 4,000 head over March and a whopping 15,000 head over April 2015.

California milk production was down 3.3 percent year over year, and cow numbers dropped 6,000 head. Even milk per cow backed off slightly, down 40 lb. per cow, in that state. South Dakota had the largest gain in total production, at 10.5 percent, while Minnesota’s April production was up 2.7 percent. Read more.


Mark Davis Receives Recognition (Bob Lefebvre)

This week, Mark Davis received the Siehl Prize from the University of Minnesota, signifying excellence in agriculture. In my history with the dairy industry, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many outstanding people and Mark Davis is one that rises to the top. He is an entrepreneur, an innovator and a humble leader. At the award ceremony he credited his father and children for their contribution to dairy, providing a glimpse into who he is and the commitment he has had to the dairy community.

Mark is one of the people with whom I met early in my career with Minnesota Milk. His support then and over the years since has been crucial to the growth of our organization. This is a well-deserved recognition for a person whose contributions will have a long-lasting impact on our industry. On behalf of MMPA, thank you, Mark Davis, and congratulations on this recognition. Read more.


Collin Peterson, NMPF Speak to MPP Program (Red River Farm Network, NMPF)

During a House Agriculture Livestock Subcommittee hearing this week, Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson voiced his disappointment with the level of participation in the dairy Margin Protection Program. “I’ve been disappointed in some of the comments I’ve gotten from some of my constituents about why they didn’t sign up,” says Peterson. “They told me they didn’t sign up, because they didn’t think they’d get money out of it. I guess it’s understandable. They’ve been used to another program that paid a certain amount when things went down. This is an insurance program. It’s not a government payment program. You don’t insure your house, hoping it will burn down.” Read more.

National Milk Producers Federation Chairman Randy Mooney testified that MPP is the right dairy program for the future. But he also said it’s not completely fulfilling its intended objective as an effective safety net. Mooney noted the MPP formula for calculating feed costs understates the true cost of feeding a dairy herd. He called MPP “a work in progress.” Read more.


Seminar Addresses Farm Transfer, Estate Planning (University of Minnesota)

The University of Minnesota Extension and USDA’s Farm Service Agency are hosting a Women in Agriculture seminar next Wednesday, June 1, in Willmar, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The meeting’s focus is farm transfer and estate planning. Read more.


“It's not the will to win that matters; everyone has that. It's the will to prepare to win that matters.” --Paul "Bear" Bryant

 

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