Minnesota Milk’s 2016 Legislative Accomplishments
January 8, 2017
Manure hoses in right-of-ways
- Turned a situation of potential regulation and paperwork burdens into a stronger law allowing manure hoses as a permissible, legal vessel in right of ways, and adjacent to land not owned by farmers
- Prohibited township-level permitting without passage at an annual meeting, and prohibited fees
- Characterized potential overflows as an emergency act allowable without need for a permit
- Maintained permitting alongside state roads through the MN Department of Transportation
AGRI funding (Livestock investment and Value-Added Grants)
- Stopped potential raids of AGRI funds in support of current Minnesota Department of Agriculture administration of the current program
Driver’s licenses and safer roads
- Supported coalition effort to implement a license allowed for undocumented workers to ensure safer roads and minimize discrimination
- The window of opportunity opened and closed quickly, but more work with legislators in the off season is raising awareness of the issue
- Helped secure funding for new research and extension positions that will help dairy and other livestock farmers by supporting Midwest Dairy’s efforts on the AgREETT (Agriculture Research, Education, Extension, and Technology Transfer) advisory committee.
- One new position will focus on manure management and water quality research, while another will be extension based to develop educational materials from the research; both based on the St. Paul Campus.
- A Livestock Housing Facilities Design Specialist that will enhance animal and worker health, precision livestock facilities, and community stewardship with a research and extension role will be housed on the St. Paul Campus.
- Several other dairy-related positions at the University will help focus research in animal microbiomes, antimicrobial resistance, animal bioinformation, veterinary parasitology, food safety extension, and several crop positions that could affect dairy farmers.
- The $4.5 million biennium fund has the momentum to be repeated over 10 years to refill agricultural research and extension positions up to about 30 full time equivalents
Stray current on dairy farms
- Held on-farm workshop to show promise of peer-reviewed research in stray current, convincing the handful of legislators in attendance that funding was necessary
- Guided a farmer-written article in Hoard’s Dairyman magazine to raise national awareness of the lack of research in an effort to build a multi-state coalition for replicated research
Environmental Permit Streamlining
- Helped government work efficiently by stopping efforts to renew Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Citizen Review Board
Bonding and infrastructure
- Maintained city of Litchfield municipal backup power system to enhance ability for First District Association to expand and continue operations in bill that did not pass
- Explained how important rural roads and bridges are to dairy farmers, holding key transportation upgrades in transportation bill that ultimately did not pass
- Increased funding for rural broadband over previously funded levels