Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Finance Bill

The House is considering a bill with a variety of ideals to benefit Minnesotans. Among them are:

  • A new farmacres-of-corn-to-food shelf program would provide incentives for farmers to give their unsold produce to food shelves. Of the department’s $1.7 million in new spending for fiscal year 2015, $1.5 million would be allocated to the non-profit food bank Second Harvest Heartland for the program.

The funding would be used to compensate farmers for the cost of gathering and packaging crops that they otherwise would throw away. Earlier in the session, bill supporters cited U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics that Minnesota farmers grow 210 million pounds of vegetables and fruits a year that either aren’t harvested or aren’t sold after they’re harvested.

  • The bill would also compensate beekeepers when their bees are killed by pesticides by providing $100,000 from the General Fund and $150,000 from a pest regulatory account to pay claims. Compensation would be avabeeilable in certain instances, including when the person who applied the pesticide can’t be determined or the person applied the pesticide in a manner consistent with its labeling. The program would function similar to wolf and elk depredation programs.

Other provisions  include the “puppy mill bill” which would create an inspection and licensing process for dog and cat breeders, and funding for environmental projects. A summary in this Session Daily link.

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