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Minnesota Farm Bureau, DNR Comment on Proposed Budget
Minnesota Ag Connection - 01/25/2023

Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz and his administration wrapped up a weeklong rollout of its budget recommendations for the next two years.

Several priorities highlighted by the grassroots membership of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) were included in the proposal, showcasing the importance of agriculture and rural communities across the state. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources also noted that the budget includes critical funding for its needs.

?“We were pleased to see many of the items our members want to see addressed were also priorities for Gov. Walz,” said MFBF President Dan Glessing. “We look forward to working with the governor and other leaders to make sure we continue to drive agriculture forward in Minnesota.”

Top priorities for MFBF included in Gov. Walz’s recommendations include:

- Healthy Soil Grant Program

- Biofuels Infrastructure Grant

- Farm Safety, Heath and Wellness Grants

- Beginning Farmer Equipment Grant

- AGRI Sunset Extension

- Ag BMP Revolving Loan Increase

- AGRI Meat Processing Grants

- Rural Finance Authority Bonds

- RFA Capacity Increase

- Ag Emergency Account

- Bioincentive Program Funding Increase

- Expanded International Trade Support

DNR noted the budget package would invest approximately $287.4 million to connect people to the outdoors, mitigate and adapt to climate change, manage natural resources proactively, and address operational needs.

"With this budget, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our state's outdoor recreation experiences and harness the power of our natural lands to mitigate climate change," said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. "By investing in the state's grasslands, wetlands, and forested lands, we can address the climate challenge and improve our environment, public health, and economy. This budget will enable more Minnesotans to connect to the outdoors, regardless of how they choose to experience nature."

Outdoor recreation, which contributes more than $9.9 billion annually to Minnesota's economy and supports 91,000 jobs, depends on Minnesota's well-managed outdoor recreation system. Many DNR-managed facilities, from state park buildings to fish hatcheries, are 60 to 90 years old. For example, the state's largest cool-water hatchery in Waterville, which keeps waters across the state stocked with walleye, northern pike, muskie, and channel catfish, is more than 70 years old. This budget invests in those facilities to ensure fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, and paddling opportunities will remain available to all Minnesotans, and have the capacity to serve expanding uses.

Climate change adaptation and mitigation also require critical investment, and Minnesota's natural lands present powerful opportunities to address these urgent needs. By investing in managing grasslands, wetlands, and forested lands, Minnesota can capture and store carbon and help mitigate the impacts of climate change.

The Walz-Flanagan budget request includes investments in the following areas:

- Connect People to the Outdoors

- Mitigate and Adapt to Climate Change

- Manage Natural Resources Proactively

- Address Operational Needs

For additional information visit the legislative resources page of the DNR website ( mndnr.gov/aboutdnr/legislativeinfo).

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