Minnesota farm families recognized for their contributions to agriculture
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed today to be “Farm Family Recognition Day” to honor the more than 66,000 family farms in Minnesota and their contributions to communities statewide. The Governor’s proclamation coincides with the University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year recognition ceremony, which is held annually during Farmfest near Redwood Falls.
“Because of our innovative, hard-working, committed farm families, Minnesota is the fifth largest producer of agricultural products in the nation,” said Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “All told, agriculture generates an estimated $90 billion in economic activity in this state.”
Minnesota’s farmers and agricultural producers form the backbone of the state’s economy. In 2012, Minnesota farmers and ranchers marketed $13.2 billion in crop products and $7.4 billion in livestock products. Minnesota farmers also are credited with exporting about $8.2 billion in high-quality agricultural exports to markets in the U.S. and around the globe. This economic success is strengthening communities across the state, while also employing more than 340,000 Minnesotans.
Governor Dayton and the Department of Agriculture have worked to support Minnesota’s farmers and help them continue their success. Since taking office, Governor Dayton has supported new investments for farmers and Minnesota’s agricultural economy. The initiatives have included the following:
Agriculture Growth, Research and Innovation Fund – The initiative helps Minnesota farmers and business by providing grants, loans, and other forms of financial assistance. This support allows producers to expand, resulting in more jobs, and greater profits in the areas of livestock investment, value added business and market development, and renewable energy development.
Agricultural Property Tax Relief – Growing farmland values have caused farm property taxes to increase in recent years. In 2014, Governor Dayton and the Legislature provided $16.9 million in direct property tax relief to Minnesota farmers.
Biofuel Development – The biofuel mandate that went into effect on July 1 puts Minnesota at the forefront of promoting cleaner, home-grown fuels, while also taking another important step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Not only is switching to biodiesel a benefit for our environment, it is good for our economy. Biofuels production contributes an estimated $6 billion annually to the Minnesota economy.
Protecting Water Resources – Minnesota farmers also are leading the way in a first of its kind voluntary program designed to accelerate adoption of on-farm conservation practices that protect Minnesota’s lakes and rivers. Producers who implement and maintain farm management practices approved under the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program are certified and in turn assured that their operation meets the state’s water quality goals and standards for a period of ten years.
Farmer-Lender Mediation Extension – Governor Dayton and the Legislature extended the Farmer-Lender Mediation program in 2013. The act ensures lenders work with farmers to find payment solutions rather than resort to repossession and foreclosure. This initiative is essential in supporting hardworking Minnesota farmers.
Cultivating Pollinator Habitats – Minnesota’s agricultural industry depends on bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. These species play a critical role in the life cycles of three-fourths of all plants. During the past decade, Minnesota’s pollinator populations have steeply declined. To ensure the vitality of Minnesota’s agricultural industry, Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested initiatives to protect pollinators and restore their habitats.