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Minnesota Legislature up against deadline for ag spending bills

Monday, May 23, deadline looms for drought relief, supplemental agriculture budget.

Legislative leaders and Walz
Gov. Tim Walz, center, along with House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, left, and Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, right, announced on Monday, May 16, 2022, that they'd struck a multi-billion deal for the state's budget surplus funds with a week remaining in the legislative session.
Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL — Some spending targets should help finalize some agriculture bills as the Minnesota Legislature looks to wrap up the 2022 session by it Monday, May 23, deadline.

Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said Wednesday, May 18, that leaders have a agreed on an $18.4 million target for a drought relief bill and $15 million for supplemental ag budget . The Ag Department already has an operating budget but the supplement bill will use money from Minnesota's $9.25 billion budget surplus.

Petersen it was possible that the two bills could be combined in the waning days of the session.

The House and Senate versions of the two bills were far apart on the amount of money appropriated.

For the ag budget, the House bill was at $60 million and the Senate bill at $5 million.

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A hangup on drought relief has been $13.3 million for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for tree replanting and other projects that is in the House version of the bill but not the Senate version. Both versions had $10 million for agriculture, but there are some differences to be worked out in conference committee.
Petersen said he expects some money to be included for tree planting in the final product.

Petersen also has asked for more money to respond to highly pathogenic avian influenza , but as of May 18 didn't know where the dollar amount would land.

Reach Jeff Beach at jbeach@agweek.com or call 701-451-5651 (work) or 859-420-1177.
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