Lawmakers meet with farmers about alternative crops

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(ABC 6 News) – Minnesota lawmakers met with local farmers Tuesday at ‘Albert Lea Seed’ to celebrate funding for alternative crops.

In the last legislative session, lawmakers passed a bipartisan bill to fund the development of alternative crops, which can keep roots in the ground year-round.

This will helps prevent soil erosion improve water quality, provide habitat for animals and capture CO2.

“Even though the one bill that the legislature passed. The one budget was our agriculture bill and that did include funding for this type of program. The Democrats and Republicans were able to work together to try to come together to help build our soils to help develop these crops,” said Thomas Petersen, MN Dept. of Agriculture Commissioner.

“We sell roughly 800 different kinds of seed here, and we sell a lot of the seeds that farmers look for, when they are looking for cover crops. Now, we are in this space where we are launching place where they have continuous living cover crops like Kernza and Winter Camelina and some of the other crops that the university of minnesota is developing,”
Albert Lea Seed President Mac Ehrhardt said.

The funding is also going towards education for farmers on how to use these alternative crops and research and devlopment of the crops at the University of Mminnesota.