Since first coming to Congress, I have been fighting for the farmers and ranchers of Minnesota's First Congressional District, and I was honored to be named to the bipartisan, bicameral team tasked with negotiating a final Farm Bill in 2013.
Agriculture production is vital to the economy of southern Minnesota and farming is the heart of our rural communities. As a member of the House Agricultural Committee, I have worked to ensure that the farm policies being made in Washington make sense for southern Minnesota's farmers and ranchers.
With the average age of the U.S. farmer at 57 and in Minnesota at 55, we need to ensure that the next generation of family farmers has the support they need to continue providing a safe, abundant supply of food. That is why in March of 2013, I re-introduced bipartisan legislation that will revitalize rural America and encourage young people to take up farming operations and agricultural entrepreneurship. The bill, H.R. 3236, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act, would modify and improve upon existing farm programs to help reduce the large financial burden of setting up an agricultural business.
Family farms are paramount to the success of rural America and southern Minnesota and I will work tirelessly to make sure this initiative is included in the new, five-year Farm Bill.
A New Farm Bill
Crafting the Farm Bill is a bipartisan opportunity for Congress to make much needed updates to our nation’s farm and agriculture policy. It's important that these policies work for you. Many of the initiatives I championed during the 2008 Farm Bill were brought to my attention by farmers in southern Minnesota. I would like to invite you to share your ideas for improving our farm and rural policy in the new Farm Bill. If you have ideas or suggestions on how to improve the Farm Bill, please contact Peder Kjeseth in my office at 507-206-0643.
2008 Farm Bill
In 2007 and 2008, I championed the Farm Bill and worked to secure an override of the President's veto. The Farm Bill included several of the initiatives I fought for, including;
- Language modeled after my Farm Flex amendment, which will allow producers in the Midwest to grow fruits and vegetables for processing on up to 75,000 acres, including 34,000 acres in Minnesota.
- Nearly a dozen different provisions added to help beginning farmers and ranchers get their start in agriculture. These include a program to provide Conservation Reserve Program transition payments to encourage landowners who are taking land out of CRP and putting it back into production to sell or rent that land to a beginning farmer; a 10% set-aside within various conservation programs to specifically target money at new producers; a requirement that USDA target Risk Management Education at beginning farmers, so they can learn how best to use crop insurance; $75 million in mandatory funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program; and improvements to the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Down Payment Loan Program and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Land Contract Program.
- A provision that requires USDA to streamline its application process for conservation programs, making it easier for producers to enroll without having to complete redundant paperwork.
- An amendment I offered requiring USDA to study the impact of rail service on rural America, particularly regarding agricultural inputs and commodities, renewable fuels, and coal.
- An amendment I offered that requires USDA to allow producers to certify their eligibility for the Conservation Security Program at the same time they certify their farming operation as organic. This saves time, reduces paperwork, and helps farmers spend less time in the FSA office and more time in the fields.
More on Agriculture
Washington, D.C.-Today H.R. 845, the National Forest System Trails Stewardship Act, sponsored by U.S. Representatives Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Tim Walz (D-MN) passed the U.S. House Agriculture Committee unanimously.
Prior to the potluck, Walz fished on Camp Creek with local Minnesota Trout Unlimited members
Preston, MN [8/14/15]—Today, Representative Tim Walz attended a potluck lunch with conservation leaders. Prior to the potluck, Walz fished on Camp Creek with local Minnesota Trout Unlimited members.
Janesville, MN [7/17/15] – Today, Congressman Tim Walz visited local biofuels plant, Guardian Energy in Janesville, to highlight the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and all-American energy solutions as a driver for the middle class economy.
Bill reauthorizes U.S. Grain Standards Act for five years, prevents privatization of U.S. Grain Inspections
Washington, DC [5/21/15] – Today, Congressman Robert E. Latta (R-OH) and Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) announced the founding of the Congressional Propane Caucus.
The caucus has been formed in order to provide a bipartisan forum to engage Members of Congress, their staff, and the public on issues of importance to propane consumers and the propane industry.
Washington, DC [2/24/15] – Today, Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) reminded farmers and ranchers of important United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Bill deadlines that are fast approaching, including deadlines to sign up for certain forms of crop insurance. Please see below for more information:
IMPORTANT: 2015 Farm Bill Program Deadlines
Subcommittee has jurisdiction and provides oversight to Commodity programs and Federal Crop Insurance
Washington, DC [1/28/15] – Today, Rep. Tim Walz (MN-01) was appointed to be the Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management. Republican Rep. Rick Crawford (AR-01) will Chair the subcommittee. Walz released the following statement:
Mankato, MN [10/24/14] – Today, Representative Tim Walz received the Friend of Farm Bureau Award from the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF).
Walz and AGCO agree that the Export-Import Bank, which promotes American Manufacturing around the world at no cost to taxpayers, must be reauthorized
This year Walz took part in a short bike ride with students and outdoor enthusiasts prior to the potluck
Winona, MN [8/18/14]—Today, Representative Tim Walz—Ranking Member of the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry—hosted the second annual Walz Conservation Potluck lunch with conservation leaders on the banks of the Mississippi in Winona. Prior to the potluck, Walz took part in a short bike ride with students and outdoor enthusiasts.