Among the changes contained in a policy-only omnibus agriculture law are those to the Board of Animal Health, and modification of regulations affecting cottage industries producing certain foods, including baked or dehydrated pet treats.
Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko) and Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) sponsor the law that takes effect Aug. 1, 2021, unless otherwise noted.
The Board of Animal Health, which regulates livestock and domestic animals in Minnesota, will increase from five to six members, including four livestock producers instead of three. At least one of the producers must be a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe located in Minnesota.
Minnesotans who sell homemade, shelf-stable foods and beverages can more than quadruple their calendar year sales — $18,000 to $78,000 — without needing to get a license. The law also exempts certain Minnesotans who sell homemade baked or dehydrated pet treats from obtaining a license from the Agriculture Department. Small meat processors who butcher fowl and game for hunters will be exempt from state food handler license and permit requirements provided their annual sales are less than $20,000 or they process fewer than 200 deer annually.
The law will also:
• require the Department of Agriculture to annually report to the Legislature on a state program to compensate livestock owners for animals killed by wolves;
• allow the Department of Agriculture to hire a publicity representative;
• retroactive to March 31, 2021, exempt people who apply general-use sanitizers or disinfectants for hire in response to COVID-19 from commercial pesticide applicator license requirements;
• allow farmed deer and elk located in chronic wasting disease management or endemic zones to be transported, if they have tested negative for the disease;
• exempt corn kernel fiber and biogas from biomass sourcing plans for advanced biofuel and renewable chemical incentive payments;
• require producers who receive payments under the Bioincentive Program to certify they will not use the funds on lobbyists; and
• allow a person certified by the Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board to treat police dogs wounded in the line of duty. This took effect May 26, 2021.