The Joint Agriculture Rural Development and Housing Finance and Policy Committee heard from the Department of Agriculture about how low commodity prices are hurting agriculture. The most immediate concerns were low commodity prices, health care costs, and regulations. While the Legislature cannot address commodity prices, it will likely examine health care costs, tax conformity, regulations, and additional resources for the Rural Finance Authority which all have the potential to benefit farmers and rural businesses.
The committee also heard that the renegotiation of NAFTA has the potential to be quite harmful to the agriculture community in Minnesota and nationally. Minnesota farmers are reliant on international markets as we are the fourth largest agricultural exporting state. Additionally, one-third of Minnesota agricultural production is exported and the Americas account for 38% of Minnesota’s agricultural exports.