WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has issued the following statement on today’s announcement that the U.S. Agriculture Department will form an interagency task force to boost rural economies and support the Agriculture industry: 

“As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I’ve worked hard on policies that support Minnesota farmers and their families, like passing a strong Farm Bill and expanding broadband access for our rural communities. I welcome the opportunity to work with Secretary Perdue and the taskforce on cutting unnecessary red tape for Minnesota farmers. I also remain focused on guarding against budget cuts to USDA and other agency programs that strengthen rural America.”

Yesterday, Klobuchar voted to confirm Sonny Perdue, who is tasked with leading the task force, as the U.S. Agriculture Secretary. 

As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a 2014 Farm Bill Conference Committee member, Klobuchar successfully pushed for key provisions in the current Farm Bill – including measures to support rural development projects, conservation programs, agricultural research, and the Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. In January, her staff held public forums throughout the state to hear firsthand from Minnesotans about their priorities for the legislation’s 2018 reauthorization. In February, Klobuchar held two “10-County Rural Economy" tours across Southern and Western Minnesota and joined with local leaders from the agriculture and business communities to discuss priorities for the 2018 Farm Bill and the economic impact of a stronger RFS.  

For years, Klobuchar has led a bipartisan push for the EPA to release a stronger RFS to support American jobs and decrease dependence on foreign oil. Last November, the former Administration released a stronger final rule for 2017, which will require a record amount of biofuel to be mixed into our transportation fuel supply next year. Minnesota’s twenty ethanol plants and three biodiesel plants generate roughly $5 billion in combined economic output and have made our state the fourth-largest ethanol producing state in the country. Earlier this month, Klobuchar and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led a bipartisan group of 23 senators in urging the Administration to reject changes to the RFS that would upend stability and predictability for small businesses and rural communities.

Klobuchar is also leading the bill in the Senate to remove legal barriers to Americans doing business in Cuba.