Agriculture Research, Education, and Technology

This bill proposes broader investment and oversight in the state’s agricultural research and educational initiatives through dedicated funding and the creation of the Agriculture Research, Education, and Technology Transfer Board. The Board would be comprised of the commissioner of agriculture; the dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota; a representative from the Minnesota State College and Universities (MnSCU) system; representatives of statewide agriculture organizations; a representative of the agricultural industry; and representatives of the state’s agricultural commodity groups.

Grant funding from the Board would focus on the following three areas:

  • Agricultural research and technology transfer needs at the University of Minnesota, research and outreach centers, the University of Minnesota Veterinary School, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and the Minnesota Agriculture Fertilizer Research and Education Council.
  • Agricultural Rapid Response is a program staffed by faculty from the University of Minnesota and experts in the field aimed at responding to urgent issues affecting the state’s agriculture and natural resources industries. Past rapid response projects included investigating Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome from the state’s swine population, controlling and eliminating avian diseases with the state’s turkey population, and reducing the impact of root rot in kidney beans.
  • Agricultural education, including the Minnesota Agriculture Education Leadership Council, farm business management, mentoring programs, graduate debt loan forgiveness, and high school programs.

This grant funding, appropriated from the General Fund to the commissioner of agriculture, would come from a newly established agriculture research, education, and technology transfer fund. Of the $18.75 million requested for FY16 and for FY17, the bill requests that $2 million each year to fund the agriculture rapid response projects, and $2.4 million each year to fund agricultural education initiatives. The proponents of the bill note that this funding is a significant request of the legislature, but that all of these programs need the funding now. (See also: Higher Education)

STATUS: The bill is in the State and Local Government Committee. (S.F. 820)

NEXT IN AGRICULTURE: Agricultural Educator Grant Program

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