"Given the financial condition of the state, Minnesota agriculture fared well during the 2010 Minnesota Legislative Session," said Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) President Kevin Paap. "Although the general fund spending for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) was reduced by 8 percent, MDA's core missions-food safety, animal health and environmental protection-should not be impacted."

Minnesota Farm Bureau actively worked on a number of key issues affecting agriculture. Beyond budget discussions, Farm Bureau successfully supported implementing a temporary livestock input lien to ensure farmers have credit options available to provide necessary inputs for livestock.

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Farm Bureau, in cooperation with other agricultural organizations, stopped the imposition of a new fee on water users in the 11-county metropolitan area. If implemented, it was estimated this new fee would have cost farmers and ranchers an additional $350 per year per irrigation well. Additionally, no new restrictions on how farmers raise their animals or use crop protection products were part of the 2010 session discussions.

"Farm Bureau would like to thank the chairs of the agriculture committees in both the Minnesota House and Senate, Governor Pawlenty and his staff, Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) Commissioner Gene Hugoson and his staff, and most importantly, all Minnesota legislators for addressing agricultural issues in a non-partisan and positive manner," said Paap.

"2010 is a critical election year in Minnesota," said Paap. "There is a wide open race for governor; all 201 seats in the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate are up for election; as are all eight members of the U.S. House of Representatives."

"We encourage all farmers and ranchers in Minnesota to get involved in the political process this summer and fall. We are losing veteran agricultural representation and leadership in both the Minnesota House of Representatives and the Minnesota Senate due to retirements," said Paap. "Farmers and ranchers need to make sure we are sending qualified individuals who understand agriculture to St. Paul to fill those seats. Being engaged in the political process is essential to ensure a positive future for Minnesota farmers and ranchers and rural Minnesota."

Minnesota Farm Bureau is comprised of 78 local Farm Bureau associations across Minnesota. Members make their views known to political leaders, state government officials, special interest groups and the general public.

Programs for young farmers and ranchers develop leadership skills and improve farm management. Promotion and Education Committee members work with programs such as Ag in the Classroom and safety education for children.

Join Farm Bureau today and support their efforts to serve as an advocate for rural Minnesota, www.fbmn.org.