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HF 701

1st Engrossment - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 04/15/2021 09:35pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to agriculture; establishing soil-healthy farming goals; creating financial
incentives for soil-healthy farming; requiring data collection; classifying data;
appropriating money; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 13.643, by
adding a subdivision; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter
103C.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 13.643, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 6a. new text end

new text begin Soil-healthy farming data. new text end

new text begin (a) Farmer names, locations, and contact
information collected and maintained by the Board of Water and Soil Resources, the
University of Minnesota, or Soil and Water Conservation Districts that are associated with
soil health data collected under section 103C.703 are classified as private or nonpublic.
Farmer names, locations, and contact information collected and maintained by the Board
of Water and Soil Resources, the University of Minnesota, or Soil and Water Conservation
Districts that are associated with grant applications or payments under section 103C.702
are public data.
new text end

new text begin (b) The Board of Water and Soil Resources, the University of Minnesota, and Soil and
Water Conservation Districts may disclose data under paragraph (a) if the Board of Water
and Soil Resources, the University of Minnesota, or a Soil and Water Conservation District
determines that there is a substantive threat to human health and safety or to the environment,
to aid in the law enforcement process, or with written consent of the subject of the data.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [103C.701] SOIL-HEALTHY FARMING GOALS.
new text end

new text begin To increase farm income, build soil health, prevent or minimize erosion and runoff,
retain and clean water, increase vegetation on the landscape, sequester carbon, and foster
healthier rural residents and pollinators and other wildlife, the state of Minnesota's
soil-healthy farming goals are that:
new text end

new text begin (1) at least 50 percent of Minnesota farmers implement cover crops, perennial crops,
no-till, or managed rotational grazing by 2030;
new text end

new text begin (2) 100 percent of Minnesota farmers implement cover crops, perennial crops, no-till,
or managed rotational grazing by 2035; and
new text end

new text begin (3) 100 percent of the state's tillable and grazeable acres employ cover crops, perennial
crops, no-till, or managed rotational grazing by 2040.
new text end

Sec. 3.

new text begin [103C.702] SOIL-HEALTHY FARMING PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For the purposes of sections 103C.701 to 103C.703, the
following terms have the meaning given.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Cooperative" means a group of less than 100 producers who work together to plan,
produce, and market their agricultural products.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Cover crop mix" means a planted seed mix of at least three species of cover crop.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Cover cropping" means producing annual or perennial grasses, nonlegume
broad-leaves, or legumes to provide food or cover for a variety of wildlife on agricultural
land in conjunction with or after cash crops.
new text end

new text begin (e) "Disability" has the meaning given in section 363A.03.
new text end

new text begin (f) "Diverse rotations" means a rotation of at least three different crops on the same acre.
new text end

new text begin (g) "Eligible farmer" means an individual, household, partnership, or producer-member
of a cooperative who is eligible to own or operate farmland under section 500.24.
new text end

new text begin (h) "Farm-generated compost" means feedlot manure and bedding pack composted to
a pile temperature between 131 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 15 days and turned
at least five times.
new text end

new text begin (i) "Household" means a person; the person's spouse or unmarried partner; dependents
and children of the person, spouse, or partner; and all others who live with the person.
new text end

new text begin (j) "Individual" means a person at least 18 years of age who cannot be claimed as a
dependent, is the only member of their household, and is not a partner in a partnership.
new text end

new text begin (k) "Interseeding" means planting a cover crop on the same field as a cash crop in
vegetative growth stage.
new text end

new text begin (l) "Managed rotational grazing" means dividing pastures, cover cropped fields, or
perennial fields into smaller paddocks utilizing lightweight, portable fencing where animals
are moved frequently and grazed vegetation maintains a minimum height of four inches to
allow adequate regrowth. Managed rotation grazing includes mob or flash grazing where
animals are kept in smaller areas for short periods of time to supercharge soil biology and
control invasive species.
new text end

new text begin (m) "No-till" means planting seeds into soil that has not been plowed or otherwise
disturbed since the previous crop was harvested.
new text end

new text begin (n) "Organic production" has the meaning given in section 31.92.
new text end

new text begin (o) "Partnership" means a married or unmarried couple or a partnership, corporation, or
other legal entity eligible to own or operate farmland under section 500.24.
new text end

new text begin (p) "Perennial cropping" means producing a crop that grows for at least three consecutive
years without being reseeded or replanted each year.
new text end

new text begin (q) "Racial minorities" means persons who are Black, Hispanic, Asian, Indigenous,
Pacific Islander, or Alaskan Native.
new text end

new text begin (r) "Roll crimping" means flattening a high-biomass cover crop to produce a thick,
uniform mat of mulch before no-tilling a cash crop into the mulch.
new text end

new text begin (s) "Soil health" has the meaning given in section 103C.101.
new text end

new text begin (t) "Soil-healthy farming" means farming that improves soil health by integrating one
or more of the following practices:
new text end

new text begin (1) no-till;
new text end

new text begin (2) cover cropping;
new text end

new text begin (3) perennial cropping;
new text end

new text begin (4) interseeding;
new text end

new text begin (5) organic production;
new text end

new text begin (6) roll crimping; and
new text end

new text begin (7) managed rotational grazing.
new text end

new text begin (u) "Total acres" or "farm size" means all agricultural acres managed or operated by an
eligible farmer. For a producer-member of a cooperative, total acres means only those acres
managed or operated by the producer-member.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Program. new text end

new text begin (a) To achieve the goals in section 103C.701, the Board of Water
and Soil Resources must administer a soil-healthy farming program to provide technical
assistance and award funding to soil and water conservation districts that provide:
new text end

new text begin (1) grants that partially cover upfront costs incurred by eligible farmers to implement
new soil-healthy farming practices, including transitioning cropland to managed rotational
grazing and transitioning conventional land to certified organic land; and
new text end

new text begin (2) direct payments to eligible farmers for up to five years to support implementation
and long-term maintenance of soil-healthy farming practices.
new text end

new text begin (b) Applications for grants and direct payments must be simple and accessible.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Upfront cost grants. new text end

new text begin (a) Participating soil and water conservation districts
must award upfront cost grants to eligible farmers. Eligible upfront costs include technical
assistance or education, seed, equipment, fencing, and organic certification costs incurred
to implement a new soil-healthy farming practice. Grants must equal the portion of the total
project cost provided below, not to exceed $15,000 in the lifetime of an eligible farmer:
new text end

new text begin (1) 90 percent for farmers who farm zero to 160 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (2) 75 percent for farmers who farm 161 to 500 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (3) 60 percent for farmers who farm 501 to 1,000 total acres; and
new text end

new text begin (4) 30 percent for farmers who farm more than 1,000 total acres.
new text end

new text begin (b) Grant recipients must provide districts with documentation of eligible upfront costs
incurred, which may include labor. If the cost of the project is larger than initially anticipated,
the district must increase the grant amount to reflect the recipient's total documented cost,
subject to available funding and the limits in paragraph (a).
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Direct payments. new text end

new text begin (a) Participating soil and water conservation districts must
award ongoing direct payments to eligible farmers based on farm size, soil-healthy farming
practice, and other factors as provided in this subdivision. Payments must be made for each
acre farmed with a soil-healthy farming practice, up to 1,000 total acres per eligible farmer
and subject to the other limits provided in this subdivision.
new text end

new text begin (b) Participating districts must award direct payments based on farm size as follows:
new text end

new text begin (1) for eligible farmers who farm zero to 160 total tillable and grazeable acres, payments
of 125 percent of the amount awarded to farmers under clause (2);
new text end

new text begin (2) for eligible farmers who farm 161 to 500 tillable and grazeable acres, payments of
125 percent of the amount awarded to farmers under clause (3); and
new text end

new text begin (3) for eligible farmers who farm 501 to 1,000 tillable and grazeable acres, payments of
125 percent of the amount awarded to farmers who operate more than 1,000 tillable and
grazeable acres.
new text end

new text begin (c) Participating districts must award larger direct payments for soil-healthy farming
practices in the following priority order:
new text end

new text begin (1) managed rotational grazing of perennial pasture;
new text end

new text begin (2) managed rotational grazing of perennial crops;
new text end

new text begin (3) managed rotational grazing of cover crop mixes;
new text end

new text begin (4) perennial cropping;
new text end

new text begin (5) interseeding and roller crimping;
new text end

new text begin (6) cover crop mix;
new text end

new text begin (7) cover cropping; and
new text end

new text begin (8) no-till.
new text end

new text begin (d) Participating districts must award an additional $5 per acre for each of the following
practices:
new text end

new text begin (1) organic production;
new text end

new text begin (2) diverse rotations; and
new text end

new text begin (3) applying farm-generated compost.
new text end

new text begin (e) Participating districts must award payments based on eligible farmers' cost to integrate
the practice, the amount required to incentivize eligible farmers to integrate the practice,
and the benefits the soil-healthy farming practice provides to ecosystems and people.
new text end

new text begin (f) An eligible farmer may receive cropping and managed rotational grazing payments
up to the applicable annual limit for each category. The lifetime limits per eligible farmer
are up to five times the annual limit. The annual limits per eligible farmer are as follows:
new text end

new text begin (1) for cropping practices, $12,500 regardless of farm size; and
new text end

new text begin (2) for managed rotational grazing practices, $17,500 regardless of farm size.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Equity. new text end

new text begin Participating districts must prioritize upfront cost grants and direct
payments to socially disadvantaged, small-, and mid-sized farmers. Districts must approve
eligible applicants in the following priority order:
new text end

new text begin (1) racial minorities farming up to 160 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (2) people with a disability and women farming up to 160 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (3) other eligible farmers farming up to 160 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (4) racial minorities farming up to 500 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (5) people with a disability and women farming up to 500 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (6) other eligible farmers farming up to 500 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (7) racial minorities farming up to 1,000 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (8) people with a disability and women farming up to 1,000 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (9) other eligible farmers farming up to 1,000 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (10) racial minorities farming more than 1,000 total acres;
new text end

new text begin (11) people with a disability and women farming more than 1,000 total acres; and
new text end

new text begin (12) other eligible farmers farming more than 1,000 total acres.
new text end

Sec. 4.

new text begin [103C.703] SOIL HEALTH DATA COLLECTION.
new text end

new text begin To advance emerging soil science, the Board of Water and Soil Resources must coordinate
to measure how soil health indicators change based on the geology of and practices
implemented on various fields for which a payment was received under section 103C.702.
The board may coordinate or contract with the Minnesota Office of Soil Health, Soil and
Water Conservation Districts, and the Institute on the Environment. Data collected under
this section must be reported once every five years.
new text end

Sec. 5. new text beginAPPROPRIATION.
new text end

new text begin $2,750,000 in fiscal year 2022 and $2,750,000 in fiscal year 2023 are appropriated from
the general fund to the Board of Water and Soil Resources for purposes of this act.
new text end