Jeff’s Position on Agriculture

Agriculture is the backbone of House District 12A. Agriculture in this district ranges from producing pork, milk, and beef, to sugar and ethanol. When all employees from the farms; implement dealers, and input suppliers and processors are counted, agriculture is one of the largest employers. All of these businesses and employees depend on a healthy agriculture industry.

Although many polices affecting agriculture take place at the national level, there are still areas where the state of Minnesota has a large impact. One area is that of regulations from the state.

Since the number of farmers is a very small percentage of the total population, their political voice is often not strong enough to compete well with larger well-funded political action groups proposing legislation contrary to the best interests of agriculture. In particular, regulations directly and adversely affecting crop production, ethanol production and livestock husbandry are put in place by bureaucrats pressured by lobbyists. Typically, these bureaucrats have no first-hand knowledge of agriculture. They are one or two generations removed from the farm and are totally out of touch with the needs and the methods of farmers.

For example, fringe animal rights groups seek to dictate how all livestock should be raised. A selected “horror story” of mistreated animals is used to prove how all livestock being raised are mistreated. Other selected examples of poor farm management are used as an excuse to punish excellent producers with unnecessary regulations that only increase costs and drive smaller producers out of business.

I trust the producers much more than the regulators. The producers as a whole do an excellent job to provide food and fiber at a bargain for the consumer. I will seek to limit the power of regulatory agencies from mandating new state regulations. Instead, any new regulations should have a full hearing of both the Senate and House before becoming law, with those in the agricultural industry most affected being given the largest voice.