Minnesotans can provide feedback on two different issues
By Diego Flammini
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) wants farmers and others affected by food and agriculture systems to submit ideas as legislators build the state’s next biennial budget.
Members of Minnesota’s ag community will have three ways to provide feedback.
Virtual sessions will take place on Wed., Sept. 7 from 2:00 – 3:30pm, and on Thurs., Sept. 8 from 5:30 – 7:00pm.
Minnesotans must register for those sessions beforehand.
The public can also submit comments through an online form.
The window to provide feedback through the online form closes on Sept. 15 at 5:00pm.
“Input is welcome from all, especially emerging and beginning farmers who may have had little to no interaction with state government,” the agriculture department’s website says.
MDA staff will use the comments to create a departmental budget in time for the next legislative session, which begins on Jan. 3, 2023.
For context, MDA’s enacted non-dedicated budget for fiscal year 2022-23 totaled $245.3 million. This represented an increase of $10 million above a February 2021 forecast.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is also looking for feedback from members of the food industry.
A partnership between the MDA and University of Minnesota is asking retailers, manufacturers, restaurants, grocers and others to share their food sourcing and distribution practices through a survey.
“We want to build on the partnerships we have with local and regional markets to help farmers, retailers, public institutions, and consumers in Minnesota,” Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said in a statement. “This is a real growth opportunity for our ag economy in the coming years, and we need to understand how we can best support it.”
Once the data is collected, members of the Statewide Cooperative Partnership for Local and Regional Markets, which includes the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and the Minnesota Farmers’ Market Association, will use the information to identify trends and opportunities, and support new MDA programs.
The survey is open until Oct. 15 and can be completed in about 20 minutes.
Individuals who participate will be entered into a draw to win one of five gift cards valued at $200 each.