Legislative members who attended the New Ulm Farm-City Hub Club Farm Show on Saturday generously volunteered their time to answer questions during a legislative forum dedicated to agricultural issues.
No doubt it’s taken them this long to try to explain why the Minnesota Legislature still hasn’t passed legislation providing drought relief for farmers affected by last year’s dry season.
Virtually everyone in the Legislature, Republicans and Democrats, agrees that livestock and specialty crop producers who were ineligible for crop insurance last year need aid, and there is a $10 million aid package, if lawmakers can agree on that.
But many people have different ideas. The DFL-controlled home passed its version of the plan last week, which includes $13 million to help pay for the replacement of trees lost to drought and fund water infrastructure.
Republicans in the Senate, however, don’t like to load up a bill with a lot of extras. Their plan would be $10 million for drought relief, plus some extra money for deer herders affected by drought and chronic wasting disease, and to prepare for the possibility of avian flu. affects poultry flocks.
Farmers who were affected last year wonder how long it will take the House and the Senate to resolve their differences. Time is not a luxury for farmers planning to buy seed and fertilizer in time for spring planting.
We hope that lawmakers will speed up the negotiations and pass this issue quickly.