By Aaron Stuve
MORGAN, Minn. (KEYC) - Farmfest 2023 is officially underway, and farmers and companies alike are discussing new developments and the future of Minnesota agriculture.
One frequent topic of discussion is the new Farm Bill, which is currently being developed by federal lawmakers.
The Farm Bill is passed every five years, and 2023 is the final year of the last bill passed in 2018.
Federal lawmakers say that the bill is progressing slowly but surely, and there’s hope to have it finished by early fall.
“They want to get this done,” said Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D). “So, my hope is that those members, including myself, on the Ag committee get this negotiated in the early fall, and we get it through committee and one day mark up, because we’ve all been working on this for so long, and then we get it on the Senate floor. Because I have a feeling with all of the fights going on in the house that we should be going first.”
The Farm Bill covers all aspects of agricultural life across the country, from planting regulations to crop insurance and rural development programs.
Farmfest held a panel with representatives and USDA experts on the first day of the event, inviting the Minnesota Ag community to learn more about a bill that will impact them and the way their farms operate.
Local Ag representatives say that Farmfest is crucial for local farmers to gather information about what’s happening on the greater state and national levels.
“You can see every day what the weather is affecting my crop and you can hear from the news what other people have,” said Greenseam Director Sam Ziegler. “But when you run into other people that you’ve met over the years from across the state of Minnesota and you get to just have a conversation, ‘Hey how’s your crop doing?’ and learn about what they’ve got going on, it gives you a pulse on here.”
Farmfest features thousands of booths to visit and people to talk to, and state lawmakers believe that the scale of the event shows how important agriculture is to the state of Minnesota.
“So it is a huge part of our economy and it’s a huge part of our culture,” said Minnesota Senate Majority Leader (DFL) Kari Dziedzic. “And so I think, really: how do we grow that? We not only feed Minnesota, but we feed the state and we feed the country and we feed the world.”
The Farm Bill will continue to be a topic of discussion here all week long, with lawmakers such as Representatives Brad Finstad and Angie Craig arriving here Wednesday to discuss the topic.