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Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 373-H.F.No. 2708 
                  An act relating to agriculture; providing for 
                  associations of producers; setting dispute resolution 
                  procedures; establishing an advisory committee; 
                  amending Minnesota Statutes 1996, sections 13.99, 
                  subdivision 6d; 17.692; 17.693, subdivisions 1, 2, and 
                  6; 17.694, subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7; 17.696, 
                  subdivision 2; 17.697; 17.698; 17.70, subdivisions 1, 
                  2, and 3; 17.701; proposing coding for new law in 
                  Minnesota Statutes, chapter 17; repealing Minnesota 
                  Statutes 1996, section 17.699. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 13.99, 
        subdivision 6d, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 6d.  [AGRICULTURAL PRODUCER ASSOCIATION AND COMMODITY 
        HANDLERS.] Access to data filed with the commissioner of 
        agriculture by agricultural producer associations and 
        agricultural commodity handlers is governed by section 17.694, 
        subdivision 1. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.692, is 
        amended to read: 
           17.692 [DECLARATION OF POLICY.] 
           Since Agricultural products are produced by numerous and 
        often scattered individual producers, the marketing and 
        bargaining position of individual producers will be adversely 
        affected unless they are free to join together voluntarily in 
        cooperative associations or other associations as authorized by 
        law.  Membership of a producer in such a cooperative association 
        or other association can only be meaningful if a handler of 
        agricultural products is required to bargain in good faith with 
        an agricultural cooperative association or other association as 
        the representative of the members of such association.  
        Production and marketing of agricultural commodities constitutes 
        a basic and essential industry.  Agricultural producers do not 
        now enjoy the opportunity, comparable to that of industrial 
        workers and those in many other forms of enterprise or 
        employment, to organize and bargain effectively.  Neither is 
        adequate government provision available to assure that the 
        bargaining process shall be fair both to producers and handlers 
        and in the public interest. in Minnesota by many individual 
        farmers, ranchers, and handlers scattered throughout the state.  
        The efficient production and marketing of agricultural products 
        by farmers, ranchers, and handlers is of vital concern to their 
        welfare and to the general economy of Minnesota.  The marketing 
        and bargaining position of individual farmers, ranchers, and 
        handlers will be adversely affected unless they are free to join 
        together voluntarily in cooperative organizations as authorized 
        by law.  Interference with this right is contrary to the public 
        interest, adversely affects the free and orderly flow of goods 
        in interstate and foreign commerce, and affects the welfare of 
        the people of Minnesota.  It is, therefore, declared to be the 
        policy of this state and the purpose of this chapter to 
        establish standards of fair practices required of handlers and 
        producers in their dealings in agricultural products and to 
        encourage settlement of disputes between handlers and producers 
        of agricultural products. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.693, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [SCOPE.] For the purposes of sections 
        17.691 to 17.701 17.703, the terms defined in this section have 
        the meanings given them.  
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.693, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [ASSOCIATION; ASSOCIATION OF PRODUCERS.] 
        "Association" or "association of producers" means an association 
        of producers, or federation of cooperative association of 
        producers engaged in producing, marketing, bargaining, shipping 
        or processing functions of an agricultural commodity of 
        agricultural commodities engaged in marketing, bargaining, 
        shipping, or processing an agricultural commodity into 
        agricultural products on behalf of its members who are producers 
        of such the agricultural commodity, which has been accredited by 
        the commissioner.  
           Sec. 5.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.693, 
        subdivision 6, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 6.  [HANDLER.] "Handler" means a person, other than 
        an association, engaged in the business or practice of acquiring 
        agricultural commodities from producers or associations for 
        processing or sale; grading, packaging, handling, storing, or 
        processing agricultural commodities received from producers or 
        associations; contracting or negotiating contracts or other 
        arrangements with or on behalf of producers or associations with 
        respect to the production of any agricultural commodity; or 
        acting as an agent or broker for a handler in the performance of 
        any function or act specified above.  It does not include a 
        producer who sells at a retail establishment which the producer 
        owns and operates or who sells at a produce market, agricultural 
        commodities produced by the producer and agricultural 
        commodities produced by another producer subject to value 
        limitation established by the commissioner.  
           Sec. 6.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.694, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [PROCEDURES.] Any association accredited 
        under this section may engage in bargaining as provided for 
        under sections 17.691 to 17.701 17.703.  
           (1) An association desiring accreditation shall file with 
        the commissioner in the form required by the commissioner.  The 
        request shall contain properly certified evidence that the 
        association meets the standards for accreditation and shall be 
        accompanied by a report of the names and addresses of member 
        producers, the name of each handler to whom the member producer 
        delivered or contracted to deliver the agricultural commodity 
        during the previous two calendar years and the quantity 
        delivered or acreage grown.  A fee to cover the costs of the 
        commissioner in processing the request shall be established 
        pursuant to chapter 14, and paid by the association when the 
        request is filed.  
           (2) The commissioner shall notify all handlers named in the 
        request for accreditation of an association of producers.  The 
        notice must be sent to the handlers named in the request by 
        first class mail within ten days of the commissioner receiving 
        the request for accreditation.  The commissioner shall maintain 
        records indicating the date of mailing. 
           (2) (3) The commissioner may require all handlers of an 
        agricultural commodity produced in a bargaining unit area as 
        individuals or through their trade association to file with the 
        board within 30 days following such a request, a report, 
        properly certified, showing the correct names and addresses of 
        all producers of the agricultural commodity who have delivered 
        the agricultural commodity to the handler during the two 
        calendar years preceding the filing of the report and the 
        quantities of the agricultural commodity received by the handler 
        from each named producer during those periods.  The information 
        contained in the individual reports of handlers filed with the 
        commissioner shall not be made public by the commissioner nor 
        available to any person for private use.  
           (4) Data submitted to the commissioner by producer 
        associations under clause (1) and by commodity handlers under 
        clause (3) are private data on individuals or nonpublic data, as 
        defined in section 13.02, subdivision 9 or 12. 
           Sec. 7.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.694, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [BARGAINING UNIT DETERMINATION.] In determination 
        of accreditation, the commissioner shall determine whether the 
        appropriate bargaining shall be appropriate unit by plant, 
        processor, or company but may define the bargaining unit by 
        processor or company if there is a history of identical 
        contracts offered to producers on a processor or company-wide 
        basis.  This determination shall be the unit area for the 
        bargaining provisions of sections 17.691 to 17.701 17.703 as is 
        applicable to associations and handlers.  In making a 
        determination, the commissioner shall define as appropriate 
        the largest bargaining unit area in terms of the quantity of the 
        agricultural commodity produced, the definition of the 
        agricultural commodity, geographic area covered, and number of 
        producers included as is consistent with the following criteria: 
           (a) (1) the community of interest of the producers 
        included; 
           (b) (2) the potential serious conflicts of interests among 
        members of the proposed unit; 
           (c) (3) the effect of exclusions on the capacity of the 
        association to effectively bargain for the bargaining unit as 
        defined; 
           (d) (4) the kinds, types, and subtypes of products to be 
        classed together as agricultural commodity for which the 
        bargaining unit is proposed; 
           (e) (5) whether the producers eligible for membership in 
        the proposed bargaining unit meet the definition of "producer" 
        for the agricultural commodity involved; 
           (f) (6) the wishes of the producers; and 
           (g) (7) the pattern of past marketing of the commodity.  
           Sec. 8.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.694, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [STANDARDS.] An association shall be accredited 
        only if it complies with the following: 
           (a) The association meets the requirements of the 
        Capper-Volstead Act, United States Code, title 7, section 291-2. 
           (b) The association has submitted a copy of its bylaws 
        which provide that:  Each member of the association shall have 
        one vote in all votes of the membership of the association; that 
        officers or directors shall be elected by a majority of the 
        members voting or by delegates representing a majority of the 
        membership; and that all elections shall be by secret ballot.  
           (c) The association would have marketing and bargaining 
        contracts for the current or next marketing year with more than 
        50 percent of the producers of an agricultural commodity who are 
        in the bargaining unit area and these contracts would cover more 
        than 50 percent of the quantity of that commodity produced by 
        producers in that bargaining unit area.  The commissioner may 
        determine the quantity produced by the bargaining unit area 
        using information on production in the prior year, current 
        marketing information, and projections on production during the 
        current marketing year.  The commissioner shall exclude from the 
        quantity of the agricultural commodity contracted by producers 
        with producer owned and controlled processing cooperatives and 
        any quantity produced by handlers.  An association whose main 
        purpose is bargaining but which processes a surplus into a form 
        which is not the subject of bargaining is not a processing 
        cooperative.  The contracts with members shall specify the 
        agricultural commodity and that the members have appointed the 
        association as their exclusive agent in negotiations with 
        handlers for prices and other terms of trade with respect to the 
        sale and marketing of the agricultural commodity and obligate 
        the members of the association to dispose of their production or 
        holdings of the agricultural commodity through or at the 
        direction of the association.  
           Sec. 9.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.694, 
        subdivision 6, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 6.  [REVOCATION.] The commissioner shall consider 
        revocation of accreditation upon any of the following conditions:
           (a) Upon receipt of a request from an accredited 
        association for its own disaccreditation.  
           (b) Upon receipt of a petition requesting that the 
        accredited association be disaccredited and bearing the 
        signatures of at least ten percent of the producers of an 
        accredited association in the bargaining unit.  Within ten days 
        following the receipt of a petition bearing the signatures of at 
        least ten percent of the producers of an accredited association 
        in a bargaining unit the board shall order, the commissioner to 
        initiate shall order a referendum, to take place at least seven 
        days but not more than 20 days after the order, among the 
        members of the accredited association and if in the referendum a 
        majority of the producers, producing 50 percent of the commodity 
        50 percent of association members approve, the association 
        accreditation shall be revoked by the board commissioner.  The 
        commissioner shall have representatives of the department 
        present at the referendum vote to conduct the referendum and 
        take action to prevent unfair practices by the association of 
        producers or handlers to obstruct or influence voting.  
        Tabulation of the vote is the responsibility of the department.  
        The department may adopt rules governing any referendum for 
        repeal of accreditation.  A request for a revocation of 
        accreditation may occur only during the first three months of a 
        marketing year. 
           Sec. 10.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.694, 
        subdivision 7, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 7.  [REPRESENTATION.] The accredited association 
        shall represent all member producers who are in the bargaining 
        unit area and it shall act as exclusive sales agents for 
        the members of the accredited association in the bargaining unit 
        area in negotiations with handlers.  The association may not 
        assess, bargain for, or claim to represent those producers who 
        choose not to be represented by the association or choose not to 
        have a bargaining committee bargain for them.  
           Sec. 11.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.696, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  [UNFAIR PRACTICES.] An association shall not 
        engage nor permit an employee or agent to engage in the 
        following practices, defined as unfair practices: 
           (a) To (1) coerce a producer in the exercise of the right 
        to join and belong to or to refrain from joining or belonging to 
        an association or refuse to deal with a producer because of the 
        exercise of the right to join and belong to or refrain from 
        joining an association; 
           (2) enter into a contract which discriminates against a 
        producer represented by that association.; 
           (b) To (3) act in a manner contrary to the bylaws of the 
        association.; 
           (c) To (4) coerce or intimidate a handler to breach, 
        cancel, or terminate an agreement or marketing contract with an 
        association or a contract with a producer.; 
           (d) To (5) make or circulate unsubstantiated reports about 
        the finances, management, or activities of other associations or 
        handlers.; or 
           (e) To (6) conspire, combine, agree, or arrange with 
        another person to do or aid or abet the doing of any practice 
        which is in violation of sections 17.691 to 17.701 17.703.  
           Sec. 12.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.697, is 
        amended to read: 
           17.697 [BARGAINING DEFINED; NOTICE OF COMMENCEMENT OF 
        NEGOTIATIONS; MEDIATION PROCEDURE INFORMATIONAL EXCHANGES; 
        DISPUTE RESOLUTION.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITION.] As used in sections 17.691 to 
        17.701 17.703, "bargaining" "informational exchange" means the 
        mutual obligation of a handler and an association or their 
        designated representatives to meet at reasonable times and 
        confer and negotiate in good faith.  Negotiations may include 
        all terms relative to trading between handlers and producers of 
        the agricultural commodity such as a mutually agreed upon time 
        in conformance with sections 17.691 to 17.703 and confer and 
        provide information about their expectations for the upcoming 
        marketing year.  The informational exchange must be a serious, 
        fair, and reasonable attempt to reach agreement by acknowledging 
        or refuting with reason points brought up by either party with 
        respect to the terms and conditions of a contract relative to 
        trading between handlers and producers of the agricultural 
        commodity.  The topics may include, but are not limited to, the 
        following: 
           (a) (1) prices and terms of sale; 
           (b) (2) quality specifications; 
           (c) (3) quantity to be marketed by acreage or weight; 
           (d) (4) transactions involving products and services 
        utilized by one party and provided by the other party; and 
           (e) (5) checkoff procedures pursuant to assessments levied 
        by the association, not to exceed one-half of one percent of the 
        gross value of the producers annual production contract are 
        collected by handlers from proceeds to producers within the 
        bargaining unit and paid to the association whereby a portion of 
        the producers' annual production payments under a contract are 
        collected by handlers from producers within the bargaining unit 
        and paid to the association on some other arrangement.  
           Subd. 2.  [FIRST TWO MEETINGS.] The association shall 
        notify the commissioner of the commencement of negotiations. The 
        handler and an association of producers or their designated 
        representatives shall meet at least two times for informational 
        exchanges prior to 60 days before the beginning of the marketing 
        year.  Neither party, however, is required to disclose 
        proprietary business or financial records or information.  Both 
        parties shall inform the department in writing of the time of 
        both informational exchanges at least ten days prior to the 
        first meeting.  Verification of completion of training in 
        negotiation, as described in section 17.702, must be included 
        with the notification sent to the commissioner. 
           Subd. 3.  [CONTINUING NEGOTIATIONS.] (a) If no agreement is 
        reached at the expiration of ten days after service of such 
        notice to the commissioner, the association may, at any time 
        thereafter, petition the commissioner to assume supervision over 
        the dispute, except as provided for by clause (e).  
           (b) The commissioner shall then set a time and place for 
        conference with the parties to present facts representing each 
        party's case and hearing arguments.  The commissioner shall take 
        such steps, in accordance with rules promulgated under sections 
        17.691 to 17.701, as the commissioner deems expedient to affect 
        a voluntary, amicable and expeditious adjustment and settlement 
        of the differences between the handler and the association.  
           (c) At any time prior to 15 days before the first day of 
        the marketing year in dispute, if an agreement on the issues in 
        dispute between the association and the handler has not been 
        reached, the handler may elect not to purchase, directly or 
        indirectly, any quantity of the agriculture commodity produced 
        by the association during that marketing year; or, the affected 
        producers may elect not to sell, directly or indirectly, any 
        quantity of the agricultural commodity produced by the 
        association during that marketing year; or, the affected 
        producers may elect not to sell, directly or indirectly, any 
        quantity of the agricultural commodity to the handler during 
        that marketing year.  
           (d) If either party makes an election, the other party is 
        not under an obligation to continue bargaining with the party so 
        electing for terms during the marketing period in dispute.  Both 
        parties may, however, engage immediately in bargaining for the 
        following marketing year.  
           (e) If the petition requesting the commissioner to assume 
        supervision over a dispute is presented 15 days or less before 
        the marketing year in dispute, then the commissioner shall 
        exercise discretionary authority, according to rules promulgated 
        under sections 17.691 to 17.701, in determining which disputes 
        are arbitrable before the start of the marketing year in dispute.
        After the conclusion of the second informational exchange and no 
        agreement is reached, negotiations may continue between the 
        parties at mutually agreed upon times.  Mediation may be 
        requested in accordance with this section by any party. 
           Subd. 4.  [AGREEMENT NOT REQUIRED.] The parties may reach 
        agreement for a contract during the informational exchanges.  
        However, the obligation to meet for informational exchanges does 
        not require either party to agree to a proposal, to make a 
        concession, or to enter into a contract. 
           Subd. 5.  [IF NO AGREEMENT IS REACHED.] If an agreement is 
        not reached during the informational exchanges, negotiations 
        must be considered to continue and either party may request 
        mediation as provided in this section.  Negotiations may 
        continue without mediation and an agreement may be reached 
        without the use of mediation.  Negotiations must be a serious, 
        fair, and reasonable attempt to reach agreement by acknowledging 
        or refuting with reason points brought up by either party with 
        respect to the terms and conditions of a contract relative to 
        trading between handlers and producers of the agricultural 
        commodity.  A request for mediation requires both parties to the 
        negotiation to complete the mediation process described in this 
        section, but does not obligate either party to agree to a 
        proposal, to make a concession, or to enter into a contract.  
        However, the parties are required to perform according to any 
        agreement reached at the conclusion of the mediation process. 
           Subd. 6.  [MEDIATION REQUEST.] An association of producers 
        or a handler may request mediation only within ten days after 
        the second informational exchange meeting.  Written notice 
        requesting mediation must be mailed to the commissioner and 
        postmarked within ten days of the second informational exchange, 
        with a copy to the nonrequesting party, and the notice for 
        mediation must contain the last offer made by the party 
        requesting mediation.  Within three days after receiving the 
        request for mediation, the commissioner shall require the 
        nonrequesting party to provide reasons for rejecting the last 
        offer made by the requesting party and revisions to the last 
        offer that might be required to reach an agreement.  The 
        nonrequesting party will have five days from the date of the 
        postmark to provide a response to the commissioner and also 
        provide a copy of the response to the requesting party.  The 
        commissioner shall request the American Arbitration Association 
        or a comparable dispute resolution organization to make 
        available a list of at least three qualified mediators, but not 
        more than six, for the parties to select one individual to 
        mediate the dispute.  Qualified mediators are those who have met 
        the training requirements of Rule 114.12 of the Minnesota 
        General Rules of Practice for the District Courts, are familiar 
        with sections 17.691 to 17.703, and have served as mediator in 
        at least three other commercial disputes or have commensurate 
        experience.  The handler and the association may agree on a 
        mediator or, failing agreement, the commissioner may select the 
        mediator from the list provided by allowing each party to strike 
        one mediator and choosing one from the remaining names on the 
        list. 
           Subd. 7.  [MEDIATION RULES.] The American Arbitration 
        Association mediation rules must be followed during the 
        mediation process.  If there is a conflict between those rules 
        and this statute, the statute prevails.  Any information shared 
        in the mediation process or offers to settle are to be 
        considered confidential and must not be used against either 
        party in any other proceeding, court action, or dispute 
        resolution process unless otherwise discoverable from outside of 
        the mediation process.  
           Subd. 8.  [DURATION OF MEDIATION.] The mediation process 
        must conclude not more than 20 days after the mediator has been 
        selected and notified by the department.  If the mediator feels 
        that additional time may result in an agreement between the 
        parties, the mediator may extend the mediation process for an 
        additional five days.  However, the mediation must conclude, 
        under any circumstance, no later than 15 days prior to the start 
        of the marketing year, unless the parties agree to a different 
        date, but no later than the first day of the marketing year. 
           Subd. 9.  [MEDIATION COSTS.] All costs for retaining a 
        mediator and proceedings during the mediation process must be 
        shared equally by both parties. 
           Subd. 10.  [SUBPOENAS.] The commissioner has the subpoena 
        authority to compel participation in the mediation process for 
        either party after the informational exchanges. 
           Subd. 11.  [ENFORCEABILITY.] Any final written agreement 
        reached during the mediation procedure is enforceable under the 
        law and in the courts of this state.  The parties are not 
        required to reach an agreement, but they are required to proceed 
        through the mediation process as outlined in this section. 
           Subd. 12.  [BINDING ARBITRATION.] If an agreement is not 
        reached during the mediation process, and upon written consent 
        by both parties, binding arbitration as set forth in this 
        chapter may be used to create a contract or resolve the dispute. 
           Subd. 13.  [NOTIFICATION.] The parties shall each notify 
        the commissioner after the end of the mediation period, if an 
        agreement has not been reached, of their desire to use binding 
        arbitration to settle the dispute.  An arbitrator must be 
        selected as provided in subdivision 18.  The notification must 
        include its final offer in which it shall identify all matters 
        as to which the parties agree with contractual language setting 
        forth these agreements and all matters as to which the parties 
        do not agree with contractual language setting forth the party's 
        final offer for resolution of those disagreements. 
           Subd. 14.  [PROCESS.] For all matters submitted to 
        arbitration, the arbitrator may choose between the final offers 
        of the parties or fashion a different solution between, but not 
        exceeding, the final offers of the parties.  If the parties 
        reach an agreement on the matters under arbitration before the 
        arbitrator issues a decision, they may submit a joint final 
        offer that the arbitrator shall accept and render as the 
        decision.  The arbitrator may hold hearings and administer 
        oaths, examine witnesses and documents, take testimony and 
        receive evidence, and issue subpoenas to compel the attendance 
        of witnesses and the production of records.  A person who fails 
        to obey the subpoena of an arbitrator may be punished for 
        contempt of court on application by the arbitrator to the 
        district court for the county in which the failure occurs.  The 
        arbitrator may use other information in addition to that 
        provided by or elicited from the parties.  The arbitrator shall 
        issue a decision within ten days of the commencement of 
        arbitration and that decision is binding on the parties.  If the 
        parties reach an agreement on the matters in the arbitrator's 
        decision prior to signing the contract, they may submit a joint 
        final offer to the arbitrator.  The arbitrator shall rescind the 
        previous decision and accept and render the joint final offer as 
        the decision. 
           Subd. 15.  [CONTRACT.] Within five days after the 
        arbitrator's decision, the handler shall prepare a contract that 
        must include all terms agreed to by the parties in bargaining or 
        awarded in arbitration and shall present the contract to the 
        association of producers who must accept the terms of the 
        contract within five days of its presentation. 
           Subd. 16.  [LIST OF ARBITRATORS.] The commissioner, in 
        consultation with the American Arbitration Association or 
        comparable dispute resolution organization, shall establish a 
        list of arbitrators who are qualified by education, training, 
        and experience to carry out the responsibilities of an 
        arbitrator under this section. 
           Subd. 17.  [COSTS OF ARBITRATION.] All costs of arbitration 
        must be borne equally by the parties.  The arbitrator shall 
        submit a statement of charges and expenses to the parties and to 
        the commissioner.  Each party shall pay the arbitrator directly. 
           Subd. 18.  [SELECTION OF ARBITRATOR.] The arbitrator must 
        be selected by the commissioner.  The commissioner shall submit 
        a list composed of the names of three persons knowledgeable in 
        the marketing of the agricultural commodity from which the 
        arbitrator must be chosen.  Qualified arbitrators are those who 
        have met the training requirements of Rule 114.12 of the 
        Minnesota General Rules of Practice for the District Courts, are 
        familiar with sections 17.691 to 17.703, and have served as an 
        arbitrator in at least three other commercial disputes or have 
        commensurate experience.  The selection must be made by the 
        association representative and the handler representative, each 
        striking one name from the list.  If two names remain, the 
        commissioner shall decide which one is the arbitrator. 
           Sec. 13.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.698, is 
        amended to read: 
           17.698 [BASIS FOR MEDIATION AND BARGAINING DECISIONS 
        FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION.] 
           All decisions of mediation and bargaining arbitration which 
        result from section 17.697 shall be based upon must consider the 
        following factors: 
           (a) (1) prices or projected prices for the agricultural 
        commodity paid by the competing handlers in the market area or 
        competing market areas. worldwide; 
           (b) (2) amount of the commodity produced or projections of 
        production in the production area or competing marketing areas. 
        worldwide; 
           (c) (3) relationship between the quantity produced and the 
        quantity handled by the handler.; 
           (d) (4) the producers cost of production including the cost 
        which would be involved in paying farm labor a fair wage rate 
        and providing them with adequate housing.; 
           (e) (5) the efficiency of farm operations of similar size 
        and the projected prices of alternative agricultural commodities 
        grown in the market area; 
           (6) the cost of production of similar sized handlers; 
           (7) the average consumer prices for goods and services, 
        commonly known as the cost of living.; 
           (f) (8) the component of the agricultural commodity that 
        makes up the producer's income; 
           (9) the impact of the award on the competitive position of 
        the handler in the marketing area or competing areas. worldwide; 
           (g) (10) the impact of the award on the competitive 
        position of the agricultural commodity in relationship to 
        competing commodities.; 
           (h) (11) a fair return on investment.; 
           (i) (12) kind, quality, or grade of the commodity 
        involved.; 
           (j) (13) stipulation of the parties.; and 
           (k) such (14) other factors which are normally or 
        traditionally taken into consideration in determining prices, 
        quality, quantity, and the costs of other services involved.  
           Sec. 14.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.70, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  For the purpose of sections 17.691 to 
        17.701 17.703, the commissioner may receive complaints with 
        respect to violations or threatened violations.  The 
        commissioner may make all necessary investigations, examinations 
        or inspections of any violation or threatened violation 
        specified in the sworn complaint filed with the commissioner.  
        If, upon such investigation, the commissioner considers that 
        there is reasonable cause to believe that the person charged has 
        committed a practice in violation of sections 17.691 to 17.701 
        17.703, the commissioner shall issue and cause to be served a 
        complaint upon the person.  The complaint shall summon the 
        person to a hearing before the commissioner at the time and 
        place fixed.  
           Sec. 15.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.70, 
        subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2.  If the commissioner determines that the person 
        complained of has committed a practice in violation of sections 
        17.691 to 17.701 17.703, the commissioner shall state findings 
        of fact and shall issue and cause to be served on the person an 
        order to cease the violation and shall order further affirmative 
        action as will effectuate the policies of sections 17.691 
        to 17.701 17.703.  
           Sec. 16.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.70, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  If the commissioner is of the opinion that the 
        person complained of has not committed a practice in violation 
        of sections 17.691 to 17.701 17.703, the commissioner shall make 
        findings of fact and issue an order dismissing the complaint.  
           Sec. 17.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.701, is 
        amended to read: 
           17.701 [RULES.] 
           The commissioner may promulgate rules necessary for the 
        administration of sections 17.691 to 17.701 17.703 in accordance 
        with sections 17.691 to 17.701 17.703 and chapter 14.  
           Sec. 18.  [17.702] [NEGOTIATION CLASSES REQUIRED.] 
           Upon accreditation of an association of producers, at least 
        two members of bargaining teams from both the association and 
        the handler named in the application must attend instructional 
        classes covering negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and 
        facilitation approved by the commissioner.  The instruction 
        period must be at least three hours.  The informational 
        exchanges may not commence unless certificates of completion are 
        on file with the commissioner.  After an association has been 
        accredited for a period exceeding one year, the association and 
        the handler must have at least one member of their bargaining 
        team in informational exchanges or negotiations complete 
        training in the previous year of at least three hours in 
        negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and facilitation, as 
        described in this section, before the dates for informational 
        exchanges are determined.  Verification of training must 
        accompany the notification to the commissioner that 
        informational exchanges are scheduled. 
           Sec. 19.  [17.703] [ADVISORY COMMITTEE.] 
           The commissioner shall establish an agricultural marketing 
        and bargaining advisory committee to monitor and review the 
        implementation and effectiveness of sections 17.691 to 17.703.  
        The commissioner shall appoint three producer representatives 
        and three handler representatives to the committee.  The 
        commissioner or the commissioner's representative shall chair 
        the committee.  The committee shall meet at least once within 
        two years of establishment.  Additional meetings shall be held 
        upon request by the commissioner.  The committee shall issue a 
        status report to the commissioner on the implementation of 
        sections 17.691 to 17.703.  The appointment, membership terms, 
        compensation, and removal of committee members are governed by 
        section 15.059.  The committee expires on June 30, 2002. 
           Sec. 20.  [REPEALER.] 
           Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 17.699, is repealed. 
           Presented to the governor April 7, 1998 
           Signed by the governor April 9, 1998, 10:45 a.m.