Local comment sought on Farm Bill programs

Published 9:05 am Monday, April 9, 2018

Area farmers, agricultural landowners and the public have a couple of opportunities this month to provide feedback on local and national programs related to conservation and the federal Farm Bill.

Public meetings are set for Wednesday, April 11, for Mower County’s Local Work Group and April 25 for a 2018 Farm Bill Listening Session organized by Minnesota’s new U.S. Sen. Tina Smith’s staff.

Both meetings will take place in the new Center for Agricultural & Food Science Technology at Riverland Community College’s west campus in Austin, 1900 Eighth Ave. NW.

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In 2017, Mower County leveraged about $3.3 million in federal funding from the Farm Bill for conservation projects.

Mower Soil & Water Conservation District will lead Wednesday’s group, starting at 10:30 a.m. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the meeting.

“This is an opportunity for the public to learn about federal Farm Bill conservation programs and provide input about how those programs are delivered in Mower County,” said Justin Hanson, district manager for Mower SWCD. “The Local Work Group process is informational and conversational in nature.”

Staff with Mower SWCD and NRCS will lead a discussion on conservation programs currently used in Mower County as well as take public input on how improvements could be made to those programs.

Discussion also will include setting priorities for conservation practices utilized locally and address locations in Mower County that should be viewed more closely.

April 25’s Farm Bill Listening Session start at 10 a.m. also in Riverland’s new Center for Agricultural & Food Science Technology on the west campus in Austin (Room A-115).

Staff for the senator are seeking public comment on Minnesota’s priorities for the Farm Bill, such as energy, commodities, nutrition, conservation and rural development.

This listening session is part of a series of meetings that Sen. Smith and her staff are organizing across Minnesota.