LSP Statement: Gov. Dayton’s Veto of Ag Policy Bill Right Call for Rural Minnesota

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — On May 21, 2018, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed the Omnibus Agriculture Policy Bill (House File 4133). The Land Stewardship Project supports this veto action and believes it is in the best interest of rural communities. The bill contained an unacceptable provision that severely undermined a law designed to address soil erosion. This law allows farmers and rural residents protection from excessive soil loss and erosion impacting their land through remediation overseen by the Board of Water and Soil Resources, when they are not protected by a county ordinance.

The Omnibus Agriculture Policy Bill contained many other positive policies that were prevented from passage due to the inclusion of this “poison” pill provision. For example, included in the bill was a provision to expand the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit to a larger number of qualified beginning farmers.

In addition, in an attempt to force the Governor to sign the bill, the Senate and House Agriculture Policy Committees used an obscure law to pass resolutions that would significantly delay the Minnesota Department of Agriculture from adopting the proposed Groundwater Protection Rule. This action, taken in the final hours of the legislative session, shows misplaced priorities and resulted in missed opportunities to find agreement and pass policy that would help rural Minnesota and family farmers.

The Governor’s veto letter is here.