In Minnesota, we’re proud of our agriculture industry, which contributes over $20 billion to our state every year and ranks fifth in the nation. Farmfest serves as an opportunity to celebrate all that our farmers contribute to our state.
When I first came to the Senate, my number one request was to be on the Agriculture Committee. The reason was simple: I wanted to work on behalf of our rural communities. Whether it’s growing crops, raising livestock, or powering our homegrown energy supply, farmers are the engine that moves our economy forward.
It’s no secret that Minnesota’s farmers have had a rough couple of years and are facing a lot of uncertainty. There are increasing concerns about access to some of our biggest export markets around the world. Farm commodity prices are down for the fourth straight year and have been cut in half since 2013. During a time of trade disruptions, low prices, and drastic weather events, it is more important than ever to stand with the men and women of our agriculture industry.
I’ve always believed that our country’s strength comes from our economic traditions of hard work and opportunity. America’s farmers are increasingly leveraging new technology and scientific research to usher in the next generation of agricultural advancements.
Our state’s prosperity depends on supporting and strengthening our farms and rural communities. That’s why I’ve always fought for a strong bipartisan Farm Bill. And late last year, right before the holidays, our Committee’s 2018 Farm Bill was signed into law. The bill included a number of improvements to the farm safety net, like protecting and expanding crop insurance and dairy programs, and several of my provisions to help Minnesota farmers and rural communities. I also led successful bipartisan amendments and provisions to support renewable energy programs, promote precision agriculture and broadband deployment, and establish an animal disease vaccine bank and disaster response program.
It's up to us to ensure farmers have the support they need to succeed. We need to put politics aside and focus on strengthening the federal safety net for our country’s hardworking farmers. That’s why Congress must continue to address the issues facing rural America, like the need for consistently reliable cell phone service and access to broadband internet, or commodity prices that allow farmers to make a good living, take care of their land, and pass on their family farms.
It’s been said that, “at least once in your life you will need a doctor, a lawyer, and a policeman—but three times a day, you will need a farmer.” America depends on its farmers. These men and women help communities across our state thrive and keep our economy moving forward. They are the foundation from which we grow our communities and put food on our families’ tables. I’m proud to be your partner in Washington and will continue working to expand rural opportunity.
Senator Amy Klobuchar is a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. She helped craft the 2018 Farm Bill.