The 2019 Minnesota Legislative Session convened this week. Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU), a grassroots family farm organization, has a number of topics it will be working on with legislators.

    “Family farmers are facing several years of a depressed farm economy, with low prices for their labor. The high costs of health care add to this burden and are unsustainable for family farmers,” said MFU President Gary Wertish. “This year we’ll be advocating for the MinnesotaCare Buy-In proposal, which could help lower costs for many on the individual health insurance market, as well as a strong agriculture budget and value-added programs.”

    In addition to health care and the agriculture budget, here are some other issues MFU will work for this session:

    •    Funding for rural mental health support services and the Farm Advocate Program
    •    Broadband funding package that supports rural businesses and farms
    •    Conforming state tax code to federal tax code, especially Section 179 for accelerated depreciation
    •    Extending property tax relief for agricultural landowners on school capital improvement levies
    •    Compensation for landowners affected by the buffer law, including tax credits
    •    Creation of an agriculture license plate that benefits 4-H and FFA
    •    Funding for the Farm to School program
    •    Funding for the Good Food Access program
    •    Funding the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota that researches ways farmers can benefit the environment with perennial and winter-annual crops

    MFU members will speak to legislators and the Walz administration about these issues at their annual Lobby Day Drive-In at the State Capitol on Feb. 5.