Gov. Walz signs Ag Omnibus Bill

(ABC 6 News) – Thursday, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed into law the agriculture omnibus bill that provides drought relief, investments in broadband, and support for agricultural programs including the Agricultural Emergency Account, the Bioincentive Program, and the Emerging Farmers Working Group.

“As farmers grapple with extreme weather, costs of modernization, and unforeseen events like avian influenza, this bipartisan bill helps to address some of the most urgent issues facing our agricultural producers,” said Governor Walz. “I am proud that we can come together and make investments in supporting farmers through the issues of today while also investing in the future of the agriculture.”

Highlights of the bill include:

  • $18.4 million in drought relief including direct grants to farmers, relief through the Rural Finance Authority, and $5 million to the Department of Natural Resources to replace drought-killed seedlings and support reforestation efforts;
  • $1.5 million for the Agricultural Emergency Account to support animal disease preparedness and response, as well as $1 million to the University of Minnesota to purchase veterinary diagnostic equipment to test for animal diseases;
  • $1.25 million for the Bioincentive Program to encourage commercial-scale production of advanced biofuels, renewable chemicals, and biomass thermal energy;
  • $1.25 million for the creation of a new, innovative down payment assistance program targeted toward beginning farmers;
  • $827,000 for emerging farmers, to support beginning farmers from underrepresented communities enter the field of agriculture; and
  • Over $200 million to support broadband development and the establishment of a lower population density pilot program.

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