The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture shall establish a framework for participatory problem-solving in local communities throughout rural Minnesota that will strengthen the connection between local communities, regions, and the land-grant university; invest research, education, and outreach dollars to meet agreed-upon local and regional needs; and foster the development of integrated agricultural systems that are profitable, enhance environmental quality, and support rural communities. The framework must include regional, community-controlled agricultural sustainable development centers located at University of Minnesota regional experiment stations. At each center, the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture shall facilitate the development of a leadership team comprised of farmers, researchers, public agencies, and other local community representatives to identify problems, chart trends in problems over time, and develop an understanding of the agricultural system as a whole, common goals for development of the system, and five-year action plans to address those goals. The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture shall appoint a statewide oversight group of persons with a thorough knowledge of agriculture-related issues, including farmers' organizations, commodity groups, rural economic development groups, the Department of Agriculture and other public agencies, academic personnel, the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute, the Minnesota Extension Service, and representatives from each regional leadership team. The oversight group shall review and comment on the regional centers' action plans and integrate them into a comprehensive agenda for long-term basic and applied research, education, and outreach activities. The oversight group shall use this agenda to make recommendations on the allocation of funds for regional or statewide use. The Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture board of directors shall review and give final approval of the allocation of funds after consultation with the dean of the College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota.
Long-term research and education activities must be focused in four program areas:
(1) sustainable cropping systems;
(2) development of markets and agriculture-related businesses;
(3) sustainable livestock systems; and
(4) intergenerational transfer in agriculture.