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Minnesota governor's plan would send checks to residents, but what's in it for ag?

The proposals from Gov. Tim Walz would still need approval from the Minnesota Legislature, which comes back into session on Jan. 31.

Gov. Tim Walz - Minneapolis
Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, announced his plan for spending part of the state's projected $7.75 billion budget surplus during a news conference at Minneapolis Community College.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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MINNEAPOLIS — Gov. Tim Walz announced a plan for to pump up the Minnesota economy on Thursday, Jan. 20, including $700 million in direct payments to Minnesotans. So what's in it for agriculture?

In the announcement, the Walz administration highlighted these plans for the farm sector:

  • $3 million to support and expand the state’s overall livestock processing capacity.
  • $3 million to help small to medium-sized meat processors attract and retain employees who conduct the critical work of maintaining our food supply.
  • $200,000 over three years for the state’s Meat and Poultry Inspection program to enable the state to meet an increased demand for inspection services for small, local, and niche processors statewide.
  • $10 million to help Minnesota farmers and livestock producers who suffered losses caused by the severe drought this past growing season, including $5 million in rapid response grants to livestock producers and specialty crop growers and $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program. This is the same disaster response Walz announced in 2021.

The proposals would still need approval from the Minnesota Legislature, which comes back into session on Jan. 31.
Other points of interest include money for broadband infrastructure and business start-ups.

About 93% of Minnesota households have access to broadband internet service. The proposal includes $170 million to reach all Minnesotans. As in the past, the money for broadband would be matching fund grant program.

There would be $5 million for to the Launch Minnesota program to help startup businesses. It would focus on industries in which the Walz administration sees the most momentum, which includes food and ag.

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The highlight of the announcement from Walz, a Democrat, was a proposal to send checks of up to $350 directly to Minnesotans. Single tax filers earning up to $164,400 would receive a payment of $175. A married couple filing jointly earning up to $273,470 would receive a payment of $350. More than 2.7 million Minnesota households would receive a check under this proposal.

The $700 million in what has been dubbed "Walz Checks," would take advantage of a huge $7.75 million budget surplus in Minnesota.

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