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HF 2771

1st Engrossment - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 04/01/2016 10:47am

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

Bill Text Versions

Introduction Posted on 03/08/2016
1st Engrossment Posted on 04/01/2016

Current Version - 1st Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to agriculture; extending the Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force;
requiring the commissioner of agriculture to consult the Minnesota Organic
Advisory Task Force and provide recommendations to the legislature; requiring a
report; amending Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 31.94.


Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 31.94, is amended to read:


(a) In order to promote opportunities for organic agriculture in Minnesota, the
commissioner shall:

(1) survey producers and support services and organizations to determine
information and research needs in the area of organic agriculture practices;

(2) work with the University of Minnesota to demonstrate the on-farm applicability
of organic agriculture practices to conditions in this state;

(3) direct the programs of the department so as to work toward the promotion of
organic agriculture in this state;

(4) inform agencies of how state or federal programs could utilize and support
organic agriculture practices; and

(5) work closely with producers, the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Trade
Office, and other appropriate organizations to identify opportunities and needs as well
as ensure coordination and avoid duplication of state agency efforts regarding research,
teaching, marketing, and extension work relating to organic agriculture.

(b) By November 15 of each year that ends in a zero or a five, the commissioner,
in conjunction with the task force created in paragraph (c), shall report on the status
of organic agriculture in Minnesota to the legislative policy and finance committees
and divisions with jurisdiction over agriculture. The report must include available data
on organic acreage and production, available data on the sales or market performance
of organic products, new text beginthe differences in yield between organic and conventional crop
production and the corresponding number of acres required to produce an equivalent
amount of food,
new text end and recommendations regarding programs, policies, and research efforts
that will benefit Minnesota's organic agriculture sector.

(c) A Minnesota Organic Advisory Task Force shall advise the commissioner and the
University of Minnesota on policies and programs that will improve organic agriculture in
Minnesota, including how available resources can most effectively be used for outreach,
education, research, and technical assistance that meet the needs of the organic agriculture
community. The task force must consist of the following residents of the state:

(1) three organic farmers;

(2) one wholesaler or distributor of organic products;

(3) one representative of organic certification agencies;

(4) two organic processors;

(5) one representative from University of Minnesota Extension;

(6) one University of Minnesota faculty member;

(7) deleted text beginone representative from a nonprofit organization representing producersdeleted text end new text beginone
member appointed by the Minnesota Farm Bureau and one member appointed by the
Minnesota Farmers Union
new text end;

(8) two public members;

(9) one representative from the United States Department of Agriculture;

(10) deleted text beginone retailer of organic products; anddeleted text end new text beginone retailer of organic products appointed
by the Minnesota Grocers Association;
new text end

(11) one organic consumer representativedeleted text begin.deleted text endnew text begin; and
new text end

new text begin (12) one member appointed by the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council.
new text end

The commissioner, in consultation with the director of the Minnesota Agricultural
Experiment Station; the dean and director of University of Minnesota Extension and the
dean of the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, shall appoint
deleted text beginmembers to serve three-year terms.deleted text end new text beginmembers under clauses (1) to (6), (8), (9), and (11).
Members serve three-year terms at the pleasure of their appointing authority.
new text end

Compensation and removal of members are governed by section 15.059, subdivision
. The task force must meet at least twice each year and expires on June 30, deleted text begin2016deleted text endnew text begin 2018new text end.

(d) For the purposes of expanding, improving, and developing production and
marketing of the organic products of Minnesota agriculture, the commissioner may
receive funds from state and federal sources and spend them, including through grants or
contracts, to assist producers and processors to achieve certification, to conduct education
or marketing activities, to enter into research and development partnerships, or to address
production or marketing obstacles to the growth and well-being of the industry.

(e) The commissioner may facilitate the registration of state organic production
and handling operations including those exempt from organic certification according to
Code of Federal Regulations, title 7, section 205.101, and certification agents operating
within the state.

new text end

new text begin The commissioner of agriculture must consult the Minnesota Organic Advisory
Task Force established under Minnesota Statutes, section 31.94, and recommend to the
legislature how to expand organic agricultural production and processing in the state
including, but not limited to, the establishment of dedicated organic agriculture zones. No
later than February 1, 2017, the commissioner must report to the legislative committees
with jurisdiction over agriculture policy and finance.
new text end