Health Care Dominates Talk at Rural Community Meeting

March 27, 2017 07:14 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- Monday, the Minnesota Farmers Union hosted the first of more than a dozen meetings on the pressing issues facing our local farming communities. They were in Oronoco with the heads of several state agencies.

Several farmers were also there to tell us where they think the most work is needed. 


“It’s always good when you can get people together who are from different areas,” said Alison Peters.

She owns a farm in Goodhue with her husband. She came to Oronoco to hear about issues ranging from deer management to ditch mowing.

We also heard from Minnesota’s Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper.

“So we have some real challenges with the department of human services right now with what’s happening federally, we have bills moving through congress, or not moving any longer through congress that negatively impacts Minnesotan’s lives,” she said.

But farmers say one of the biggest issues for the farming community is health care.

“Rising cost of healthcare impacts greater Minnesota disproportionally,” said Piper.

Peters tells us she agrees.

“Rates are increasing exponentially and a lot of people are having to choose.  'Do I pay my mortgage, do I buy food?' You know. You only have so much income,” Peters said.

Peters says she and her husband are lucky enough to have other jobs that provide coverage.

“Some people don’t have that option or their farm is larger enough that they don’t have the time to have that option,” Peters told us.  

These are the types of problems state commissioners are looking to solve.

Piper told us why the meetings help come to resolutions.

“These types of venues are crucial to me and to the policy makers all across the state to hear exactly what the impacts of legislation or proposal are or ideas for new proposals,” the Commissioner said.  

And although most couldn’t be resolved right away, the meeting seemed to end on a positive note.

“I think it was a good productive meeting. The commissioners that were here seemed to listen, take in what everybody was speaking to,” said Peters.

Organizers with the Farmers Union say this is the first meeting of 15 planned throughout the state.

To see a list of the other meetings, click here (opens PDF).


Roxanne Elias

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