On a broad bipartisan vote, the Minnesota State Senate passed our comprehensive agriculture, rural development, and housing budget bill. As the chief author of the legislation, I am proud that legislators on both sides of the aisle worked together to support rural broadband expansion, invest in affordable manufactured housing and home ownership, prioritized value-added agriculture opportunities that directly impact farmers, and increased resources for farmer mental health services in Minnesota.
All too often, the agricultural policy discussion seems to be limited to crops and livestock. However, the issues facing farm families in Minnesota are much more diverse. With farmers experiencing six consecutive years of extremely low profitability, mental health in the agriculture sector has become a top concern.
The Minnesota Legislature is off to another fast start in 2019. This session, I am honored to have been re-appointed chairman of the Minnesota Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development and Housing Finance. I have served as chairman of the committee since early 2017.