MFU sees mixed results in 2018 legislative session
May 30, 2018
The Minnesota Legislature concluded its regular business on May 20. Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) saw many agricultural interests addressed positively, but also saw quite a few disappointments in the legislative session.
“A few of MFU’s legislative priorities were tax conformity, rural broadband and funding for the Rural Finance Authority,” said MFU President Gary Wertish.
MFU was pleased to see positive action on several issues, including:
- Passage of H.F. 4425, providing authorization in $35 million dollars in funding for the Rural Finance Authority which extends low-interest loans to farmers.
- Passage of S.F. 3569, which extends a moratorium on allowing the Minnesota Department of Transportation to enforce permits to mow or hay trunk highway rights-of-way until April 30, 2019.
- Passage of S.F. 3596, which made technical changes allowing Minnesota to move forward with the B20 biodiesel requirement in the summer months of the year.
Despite spending much time advocating for them, MFU was disappointed to see several top priorities not passed, including:
- Increased funding for farmer mental health and the Farm Advocate program.
- Tax conformity, including raising Minnesota’s level for Section 179 (accelerated depreciation) from $25,000 to $1 million.
- Compensation for farmers who have added buffers to their land under the state buffer law.
- Funding for Border-to-Border rural broadband.
- Development of a “buy-in” option to MinnesotaCare.
“We knew going into this short session that accomplishments would be tough, but MFU is disappointed that with a budget surplus, these programs are not moving forward at this time,” said President Wertish. “MFU will work in the coming weeks to educate members about how these and other changes to state laws affect family farmers.”
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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Fighting for Farmers