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POLICY

In January, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was restricting the use of a herbicide in six Minnesota counties out of concern for an endangered species, a species it chose not to make public. Before the calendar could flip to April, EPA had reversed those restrictions as well as even wider herbicide bans because of an insect called the American burying beetle. So what was behind the initial secretiveness? Why the sudden reversal?
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Thune, S.D., are moving a bill in the Senate, designed to pressure international ocean freight companies to fill freight “containers” with agricultural products instead of sending them back to Asia empty. Rick Brandenburger, president of Richland Innovative Food Crops Inc., Inc., of Breckenridge, Minnesota, says the company is getting only one-third of their needed containers. They want “teeth” in any efforts to fix the problem.
The Environmental Protection agency says it relies on information from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but information from that agency and other snake experts seem to contradict what EPA says.
A Nov. 18 virtual event which included speakers Minnesota Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, State Representative Samantha Vang, Union Hmong Kitchen Chef Yia Vang and HAFA co-founders Pakou and Janssen Hang, celebrated the association reaching its funding goal to purchase the 155 acres it now farms on.

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The Environmental Quality Board approved changing the form as part of a pilot project, which will make the assessments more expensive to fill out, but is part of Minnesota's goals to reduce greenhouse emissions.
The protest, organized online in a private Mayo Clinic employee discussion group, started at 9 a.m. By 10:30 a.m., it had swelled to more than 100 people, possibly as many as 200.
Some North Dakota farm groups are growing concerned about federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates for elected Farm Service Agency county advisory committees and others.
North Dakota officials have told CHS Sunflower at Grandin, North Dakota, to stop shipping sunflower screenings for livestock producers in North Dakota after a Grant County rancher found his feed product had contaminated hundreds of acres with the hard-to-control Palmer amaranth weed seeds.
Representatives from various aspects of aquaculture spoke on Tuesday, Oct. 12, before the Minnesota Legislature’s House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee in favor of a bill that would provide $100,000 to the to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture create a comprehensive plan for the industry.
According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, China missed the $36.5 billion goal for 2020 set in the phase one deal, coming in at $28.75 billion worth of purchases. China is also on pace to be short of its 2021 goal of $43.5 billion. U.S. Census figures through August 2021 put China’s agricultural and related purchases at $19.28 billion.

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MNsure estimates that families that buy insurance through the marketplace will save $684 on average.
The proposed package includes $5 million in rapid response grants to provide drought relief for livestock producers and specialty crop producers, and $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program.
In the years since the age for buying tobacco was raised at the local, state and federal level, research has shown its been effective in decreasing youth smoking. While the issue persists, proponents see the laws as progress.

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