Through our traditional policy committee, resolutions and board process, the Minnesota Milk board has identified priorities for the 2020 legislative session. The session begins February 11, with Dairy Day at the Capitol on February 18. Sign up for Dairy Day 2020.  

For 2020, Minnesota Milk will focus on the following issues, in alphabetical order, with explanations below: 

  • Broadband internet availability in Greater Minnesota  
  • Environmental clarity through better expectations  
  • Fair milk prices (communication of Federal Milk Marketing Order reform processes) 
  • Improve the dairy labor climate 
  • Section 179 state conformity  
  • Section 199-A state conformity (Domestic Production Activities Deduction) 

Broadband internet 

  • Minnesota Milk will push for broadband internet access throughout Greater Minnesota. Broadband internet is defined by the Federal Communications Commission as 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speed. Approximately 98.1% percent of the country has access to broadband internet or mobile LTE, but only 89.7% in rural areas. 

Environmental Clarity 

  • Minnesota Milk asks our elected and regulatory officials to work toward environmental clarity for farmers. As dairy farmers begin building projects, field work and even manure application procedures, the permits, forms and ultimately rules/regulations are not always clear and easy to understand. 

Fair Milk Prices 

  • In rumored Federal Milk Marketing Reform, Minnesota Milk aims to be a conveyor of information to Minnesota Milk members, Associate Members (including cooperatives) and the media. 

Improve the dairy labor climate 

  • As labor continues to be difficult to obtain, especially in Minnesota’s dairy areas, Minnesota will continue its push to aid commonsense labor policies. These include the federal Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038) and state Drivers Licenses for All (HF 1500) bills. 

Taxes: Section 179 and 199A (DPAD) 

  • Section 179: Due to the passage of the federal 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the 2019 Minnesota tax conformity package, the state no longer recognizes a traded-in piece of equipment as a like-kind exchange. For example, if a business buys a $300,000 combine and trades in their current $250,000 value combine, they pay $50,000 to boot. Prior to these changes, you would just put the “boot” value on the depreciation section and write it off over 5 to 7 years. These tax reforms no longer allow Minnesota businesses to defer the gain on the trade, which now operates as a $300,000 new asset, and selling an old asset for $250,000. This has little effect on federal taxes, but now can cause unexpected tax bills in Minnesota. There are also at least two other issues due to the 2018 year of non-conformity and for any businesses that regularly use Section 179 and bonus depreciation. 
  • Section 199A/DPAD: Within the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act, the Domestic Production Activities Deduction was championed for agricultural cooperatives by Minnesota Milk and others, when it was replaced by Section 199A. That benefit for members of cooperatives is still taxed in Minnesota, despite it being recognized in federal taxes.