Minn. Ag Expo returns with legislation and innovation updates for farmers and businesses

Minn. Ag Expo returns with legislation and innovation updates for farmers and businesses

MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — The Minnesota Agriculture Expo is back in town on Wednesday and Thursday at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato.

The annual trade show held downtown brought producers and professionals together to discuss legislation and innovation updates.

The Minnesota Ag Expo has around 100 booths in the trade show and features speakers and sessions for farmers and businesses, even bringing in Gov. Tim Walz.

“Going around and talking about what we were able to accomplish. A very bipartisan legislative session to emergency relief to dairy barn collapses to some flooding relief to some tax policy and around things that make it easier to farm,” said Gov. Tim Walz.

The event is hosted by the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the Minnesota Corn Growers Association who hold their annual meetings and delegate sessions.

“It’s an opportunity for individual counties to bring forward ideas for legislative priorities and review the ones we already have in place,” said Jamie Beyer, president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Minnesota Soybean Growers Association used its meeting to go through the ups and downs of 2019, including the $5 million dollar appropriation received for Minnesota Soybean’s Soy Innovation Campus in Crookston, Minnesota, to trade and weather woes.

“For this legislative session, it’s an election year, so we’re expecting a lot more activity and we’ll be spending a lot of time in Saint Paul trying to lobby for some of our efforts,” said Beyer.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association is holding their meeting the second day of the Minnesota Ag Expo, also discussing topics they want to run past the legislature.

“Tax issues, road and bridge issues, transportation issues, believe it or not buffers are still an issue for farmers in Minnesota, so we’ll be discussing a number of resolutions around those issues,” Minnesota Corn Growers Association Director Harold Wolle explained.

At the heart of the corn growers’ 2020 efforts is their Better Fuel Initiative, seeking to increase the usage of biofuels in Minnesota and increase the biofuel standard amount from 10% of ethanol blended in gasoline to 15%.

“We think that’s better for the health of Minnesotans, it’s better for the consumers because it’s a lower-cost fuel, it’s better for the local economy because we can keep our biofuels, manufacturing plants at full operation, last but not least, it’s good for Minnesota farmers too,” said Wolle.

A common concern between the two groups is trade but with the USMCA agreement on President Donald Trump’s desk after passing in Congress and a phase-one deal with China signed, both groups are hoping to continue that momentum in 2020.

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