2023 Legislator of the Year


Putnam awarded Minnesota Milk 2023 Legislator of the Year


Feb. 28, 2024

Contact: Laura Hensley
Director of communications
(517) 652-4524 | lhensley@voiceofmilk.com

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Milk Producers Association’s Board of Directors congratulated Sen. Aric Putnam, DFL-St. Cloud, on being named 2023 Minnesota Milk Legislator of the Year during a presentation at a dairy farm on Feb. 8. The association will formally present Sen. Putnam with the award during their annual Dairy Dinner banquet on the evening of March 6 in St. Paul.

“Sen. Putnam has taken the time to meet with all facets of agriculture early and often,” said Minnesota Milk President Shelly DePestel, a dairy farmer from Lewiston. “He’s visited member farms, been quick to ask for input and supports Minnesota agriculture.”

Among other legislation, Sen. Putnam championed the Dairy Assistance, Investment and Relief Initiative 2.0 to be paired with the pending farm bill’s Dairy Margin Coverage program, ensuring Minnesotans have access to federal risk management programs. DAIRI provided the state of Minnesota and its dairy farmers with a 17:1 return on investment. With dairy farmers and the state each putting in half of $16 million, the state saw the highest percentage enrollment of any state nationwide and, therefore, the largest return in the insurance program nationwide. Once a new farm bill is finalized, the program will open consistent with the DMC enrollment period. 

“We appreciate Sen. Putnam being quick to say he needed to learn about dairy, and then begin to ask about our issues,” said Garrett Luthens, a dairy farmer from Hutchinson and Minnesota Milk vice president and policy committee chair. “His background in education helped him quickly learn what’s happening on Minnesota’s dairy farms and help navigate issues.” 

Sen. Putnam was surprised to receive the award but quite humbled.

“I’m so very grateful to my friends at Minnesota Milk, for the recognition, sure, but more for the work they do for farmers,” Sen. Putnam said. “This is a hard time to be in dairy, but I hope farmers find comfort in the fact that they have great advocates in Minnesota Milk and a friend in the Minnesota Senate.”

Sen. Putnam will be honored at Minnesota Milk’s annual meeting, Dairy Dinner, and Dairy Day at the Capitol, where farmers are encouraged to share their stories, meet with legislators and advocate for issues impacting the state’s farms. For more information about this upcoming event, visit mnmilk.org.


Minnesota Milk presents Sen. Aric Putnam with 2023 Legislator of the Year

Minnesota Milk logo

About Minnesota Milk:

Minnesota Milk Producers Association is the Minnesota dairy industry’s leading grassroots organization. Its strength comes from members working together and focusing on three key areas: policy, education and membership. By focusing on these areas, the organization will advance the success of Minnesota’s dairy producers. More information: www.mnmilk.org.

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