Minnesota soybean growers express disappointment in budget agreement

MSGA said the recent biennium budget agreement doesn't reflect the importance of agriculture to Minnesota's economy.

Gov. Tim Walz (left), House Speaker Melissa Hortman (right), Senate President Bobby Joe Champion (center) and other state officials announced an agreement on March 21, 2023, on broad budget numbers that set the stage for legislative work on a new two-year state budget.
Brian Bakst / MPR News

The organization representing the interests of Minnesota’s nearly 28,000 soybean farmers is upset that more of the state's record surplus isn't going to agriculture.

In a press release, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) said it was "extremely disappointed" in the global biennium budget agreement recently announced between Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic and House Speaker Melissa Hortman.

“This global budget agreement is not indicative to agriculture’s importance to Minnesota,” said MSGA President Bob Worth in the release. “Agriculture is 30% of the GDP in Minnesota, and this proposal limits the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s ability to do the work it needs to do.”

The budget targets $48 million for the agriculture area.

The agreed-upon budget framework includes historic investments for kids and families, the largest tax cut in state history and funding to improve health and safety. Committee chairs will finalize the components of the budget areas.


MSGA called Walz’s original biennium budget proposal to legislators "a step in the right direction" for agriculture in Minnesota, but said the new target leaves "many challenges and demands" regarding agriculture unfunded.

Joe Smentek, executive director for MSGA, called the agreement, which is typically not reached until near the end of the legislative session a "step back" from Walz's original proposal.

“We’re extremely disappointed that this new budget proposal seems to forget that agriculture plays a vital role in the state’s economic growth, including the surplus our state leaders divvied up in this agreement," said Smentek.

Worth said the "global deal" needs to be looked at when funding the agriculture budget.

“This is a very disappointing target for Minnesota agriculture," said Worth in the release. "We hope they’ll come to realize with all the demands agriculture is facing that this budget proposal needs to be reconsidered.”

In a press release following the announcement of the agreement, Walz called it the "most productive legislative session in a generation."

"The Senate DFL majority, working together with the Governor and the House, has enacted transformational legislation this year that will help families across Minnesota," said Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic. "With these budget targets, we can create a state budget that helps family budgets and focuses on lowering costs and investing in the needs of people and communities across the state."

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