This past fall, hundreds of Land Stewardship Project members from across Minnesota came together to build a holistic, state policy campaign — the “Minnesota Food and Farm Campaign.” Now, as the 2023 session of the Minnesota Legislature hits its stride, we’re translating our agenda into legislation.
LSP is championing 15 bills (so far) to build a fair farm economy, steward healthy soil and a resilient climate, create strong regional food systems, protect rural communities and water from factory farming, and greatly increase access to land and secure land tenure for emerging and aspiring farmers. Here’s a quick summary of where we are at on these proposals thus far:
- Meat Processing Liaison Position: Nathan Nelson (R-Hinckley), Sen. Rob Kupec (DFL-Moorhead)
- Small Meat Processor Training and Planning Grants: Nathan Nelson (R-Hinckley), Sen. Jason Rarick (R-Pine City)
In Draft Form
- Farm to School and Regional Food Systems Coordinators: Kristi Pursell (DFL–Northfield)
- Local Food Systems Planning and Infrastructure Grants: Alicia Kozlowski (DFL–Duluth)
- Voluntary, Statewide Soil-Healthy Farming Goals: Kristi Pursell (DFL–Northfield), Sen. Rob Kupec (DFL–Moorhead)
- Assessment of the Minnesota Ag Water Quality Certification Program: Kristi Pursell (DFL–Northfield), Sen. Rob Kupec (DFL–Moorhead)
- Farmer-to-Farmer Soil Health Mentorship Grants: Kristi Pursell (DFL–Northfield), Sen. Rob Kupec (DFL–Moorhead)
- Whole Farm Revenue Protection Program Premium Assistance: Rep. Jeff Brand (DFL–St. Peter), Sen. Liz Boldon (DFL–Rochester)
- Development of a Statewide Strategic Plan on Land Access, Land Consolidation, Land Transitions, and Emerging Farmers: Rep. Jeff Brand (DFL–St. Peter)
- Reinstatement of the MPCA Citizens’ Board: Rep. Rick Hansen (DFL–South St. Paul), Sen. Foung Hawj (DFL–St. Paul)
- Fair Water Permitting Fees: Rep. Kristi Pursell (DFL–Northfield)
- Increasing Feedlot Inspection Rates: Rep. Kristi Pursell (DFL–Northfield)
Securing Legislative Authors
- Fiber Hemp Supply Chain Development Grant Program
- Country of Origin Labeling Resolution
- Down Payment Assistance Grant Program Reform and Funding
Some top highlights from this past week include:
- Two LSP championed bills were introduced in the Minnesota House by Rep. Nathan Nelson (R–Hinckley) that would expand support for small meat processors in Minnesota. In the Senate, one is being authored by Sen. Jason Rarick (R–Pine City) and another is being authored by Sen. Rob Kupec (DFL–Moorhead).
- LSP Healthcare Steering Committee Member Jennifer Jacquot Devries from Crow Wing County testified in-person in front of the House Commerce Committee in support of the MinnesotaCare Public Option.
- LSP staff, an LSP member, and a volunteer from Trout Unlimited met with Rep. Sydney Jordan (DFL–Minneapolis) and Sen. Jen McEwen (DFL–Duluth) to discuss their bill to strengthen the state’s response to and investigation of fish kills. Since the August 2022 fish kill in Winona County’s Rush Creek, LSP members in southeastern Minnesota have been organizing to get answers.
Family Farm Breakfast & Lobby Day April 13
We’ve said it before — we need all of us to make sure the Legislature delivers for people and the land! Nothing is a given. Please join us at the 2023 LSP Family Farm Breakfast and Lobby Day on Thursday, April 13, starting at 7 a.m. Begin the day with a delicious meal made from ingredients sourced from LSP member-farms and stick around to meet with your legislators and other public officials to demonstrate the demand for investments in regenerative agriculture, local and regional food systems, and rural communities.
Already registered? Register for one of our upcoming virtual lobby trainings to prepare! We have nine options over the next two months and we’ll cover background information on your legislators and workshop sharing our stories both powerfully and concisely, as well as strategize what will move your legislators, and more.
Amanda Koehler (firstname.lastname@example.org) is LSP’s policy manager and Laura Schreiber (email@example.com) is an LSP policy organizer.