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Ag policy omnibus bill sails through committee to House Floor

For the first time, Rep. Samantha Vang (DFL-Brooklyn Center) could use the line “peace in the valley” as the House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee approved Thursday, without objection, this year’s omnibus agriculture policy bill.

It now goes to the House Floor.

HF1587, as amended, is sponsored by Vang and includes provisions that would prohibit non-disclosure clauses in carbon contracts, streamline regulations of genetically modified organisms, and allow the Department of Natural Resources to manage non-native phragmites.

A provision prohibiting nursery stock with detectable levels of neonicotinoid pesticide from being sold as “pollinator friendly” earned scrutiny during earlier meetings.

Following conversations with Department of Agriculture staff, Rep. Kristi Pursell (DFL-Northfield), sponsor of the original bill, is expected to offer an amendment on the floor clarifying the definition of “detectable level” to one linked to federal Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Committee members can now turn to programs and policies that impact tax dollars.

The omnibus agriculture finance bill is expected to be unveiled Monday. The plan is to walk through the bill and take public testimony Tuesday. Mark-up and action are planned for Thursday, March 30.

Based on committee targets agreed to by Gov. Tim Walz and House and Senate leaders, there is $48 million available over base for programs under jurisdiction of the agriculture committee plus $100 million marked for expanding broadband.

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