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Gov. Walz, Minnesota Congressional Delegation press USDA for farmer aid

Gov. Walz, Minnesota Congressional Delegation press USDA for farmer aid

In a series of news releases, Minnesota lawmakers in the executive branch and the Congressional delegation called upon the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide aid to farmers struggling after recent adverse weather and flooding.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith and Reps. Jim Hagedorn, Angie Craig, Dean Phillips, Betty McCollum, Ilhan Omar, Tom Emmer, Collin Peterson, and Pete Stauber, as well as Gov. Tim Walz, urged USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to provide federal assistance to Minnesota farmers overwhelmed by significant wet weather during this year’s harvest.

In a letter to the USDA, members of the Minnesota Congressional Delegation offered their support for Walz’s request for a Department of Agriculture Secretarial Disaster Declaration to assist communities that are recovering from catastrophic weather conditions this fall.

“Flooded fields have created unworkable field conditions for many producers in Minnesota,” the letter reads. “During September and October, parts of the state received more than 400 percent of the typical amount of rainfall, and the Red River reached record levels that are normally seen during the spring thaw. As a result, the harvest of sugarbeets, potatoes, edible beans, soybeans, wheat, corn, and other crops has slowed or stopped altogether.”

“A disaster declaration will provide much needed financial support and open the door to eligibility for important disaster programs such as the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus,” it continues. “Congress appropriated funds for WHIP+ to provide support during disaster situations like this, and we ask that you act quickly to provide certainty for Minnesotans.”

In his letter, Walz characterized recent weather as another blow to a sector of American commerce that’s already reeling from trade wars and fluctuating markets.

“In recent years, farmers in the Midwest have faced numerous challenges and Minnesota producers are no exception,” Walz wrote. “From low commodity prices, to uncertainty around trade, farmers have struggled to find stable, profitable markets for their crops. These challenges have only become more acute with the severe weather conditions plaguing our state,”

The letter requests that the Secretarial Disaster Designation be issued for the counties of Polk, Clay, Norman, Marshall, Pennington, Lake of the Woods, Kittson, Roseau, Red Lake, Wilkin, Becker, and Mahnomen.

Walz issued an executive order Wednesday, Oct. 30, declaring an emergency and lifting regulations on motor carriers and drivers to alleviate the strain on farmers in Minnesota during a particularly difficult harvest season after meeting with around fifty farmers and agriculture leaders in East Grand Forks to discuss the weather-related crisis facing farms in the region.