|17.01||CREATION OF DEPARTMENT; COMMISSIONER; DEPUTY.|
|17.013||DELEGATIONS OF POWERS TO DEPUTY COMMISSIONER.|
|17.02||[Repealed, 1961 c 128 s 20]|
|17.03||POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER.|
|17.031||[Repealed, 1983 c 300 s 28]|
|17.032||[Repealed, 1983 c 300 s 28]|
|17.035||VENISON DISTRIBUTION AND REIMBURSEMENT.|
|17.037||MS 2012 [Renumbered 28A.0753]|
|17.038||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.039||ETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR FARM ADVOCATES.|
|17.04||ENFORCEMENT OF FOOD LAWS.|
|17.042||[Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 2 s 162]|
|17.045||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.05||[Repealed, 1955 c 92 s 3]|
|17.06||[Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 2 s 162]|
|17.07||[Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 2 s 162]|
|17.08||[Repealed, 1961 c 128 s 20]|
|17.09||[Renumbered 17.03, subd 4]|
|17.10||[Repealed, 2006 c 265 s 6]|
|17.102||MINNESOTA GROWN LABEL.|
|17.1025||MS 2006 [Expired, 1Sp2001 c 2 s 21]|
|17.106||[Repealed, 1984 c 654 art 2 s 155]|
|17.107||FARM EQUIPMENT SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE PROGRAM FOR YOUTH.|
|17.108||[Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 2 s 162]|
|17.109||[Repealed, 2007 c 45 art 1 s 66]|
|17.11||[Repealed, 1955 c 92 s 3]|
|17.110||[Repealed, 2003 c 128 art 3 s 47]|
|17.115||SHARED SAVINGS LOAN PROGRAM.|
|17.116||SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE DEMONSTRATION GRANTS.|
|17.1161||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|AGRICULTURE BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES LOAN PROGRAM;
LIVESTOCK INVESTMENT GRANT PROGRAM
|17.117||AGRICULTURE BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES LOAN PROGRAM.|
|17.118||LIVESTOCK INVESTMENT GRANT PROGRAM.|
|17.12||[Repealed, 1955 c 92 s 3]|
|17.13||[Repealed, 1955 c 92 s 3]|
|FARM SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL|
|17.135||FARM DISPOSAL OF SOLID WASTE.|
|17.136||MS 2006 [Expired, 2001 c 161 s 7]|
|17.138||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.139||[Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 2 s 162]|
|17.14||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|
|17.15||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.16||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.17||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.18||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.181||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.19||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.20||[Repealed, 1949 c 559 s 20]|
|17.201||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.202||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.203||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.204||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.205||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.206||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.207||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.208||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.209||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.21||[Repealed, 1949 c 559 s 20]|
|17.211||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.212||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.213||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.214||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.215||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.216||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.217||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.218||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.219||[Repealed, 1971 c 638 s 20]|
|17.22||[Repealed, 1949 c 559 s 20]|
|17.23||[Repealed, 2003 c 128 art 7 s 1]|
|17.231||[Repealed, 2010 c 333 art 1 s 40]|
|17.24||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|
|17.26||[Repealed, 1955 c 92 s 3]|
|17.27||[Repealed, 1955 c 92 s 3]|
|17.29||Subdivisions renumbered, repealed, or no longer in effect|
|17.34||[Repealed, Ex1959 c 73 s 1]|
|AGRICULTURAL PURSUIT NOT DETERMINATIVE FOR PROPERTY CLASSIFICATION|
|17.345||NOT DETERMINATIVE FOR PROPERTY CLASSIFICATION.|
|17.35||[Repealed, 1985 c 44 s 5]|
|17.352||AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS AND PURSUITS.|
|17.353||FUR FARMER REGISTRATION.|
|17.37||[Repealed, 1961 c 128 s 20]|
|CHEMICALLY TREATED GRAIN|
|17.42||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.43||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|17.44||[Repealed, 2014 c 181 s 14]|
|BEE INSPECTION FEES|
|17.445||INSPECTIONS AND SERVICES; FEES.|
|17.45||[Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 2 s 162]|
|17.451||[Repealed, 1Sp2005 c 1 art 1 s 98]|
|EURASIAN WILD PIGS|
|17.49||AQUACULTURE PROGRAM AND PROMOTION.|
|17.491||AQUACULTURE IS AGRICULTURAL PURSUIT.|
|17.492||[Repealed, 1991 c 309 s 17]|
|17.494||AQUACULTURE PERMITS; RULES.|
|17.496||QUARANTINE FACILITY; RULES.|
|17.497||EXOTIC SPECIES IMPORTATION; RULES.|
|17.498||RULES; FINANCIAL ASSURANCE.|
|17.4981||GENERAL CONDITIONS FOR REGULATION OF AQUATIC FARMS.|
|17.4983||AQUATIC FARM OPERATIONS.|
|17.4984||AQUATIC FARM LICENSE.|
|17.4985||TRANSPORTATION OF AQUATIC LIFE.|
|17.4986||IMPORTATION OF AQUATIC LIFE.|
|17.4987||STOCKING PRIVATE AQUATIC LIFE.|
|17.4988||LICENSE AND INSPECTION FEES.|
|17.4989||FISH SAMPLE COLLECTING.|
|17.4995||RECEIPTS TO THE GAME AND FISH FUND.|
|17.4996||WHITE EARTH INDIAN RESERVATION.|
|17.4999||STORAGE, HANDLING, AND DISPOSAL OF FISH MANURE.|
|17.51||CITATION; AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES PROMOTION ACT.|
|17.55||[Repealed, 1982 c 582 s 14]|
|17.56||COUNCIL TO FORMULATE AND SUBMIT PROMOTIONAL ORDER.|
|17.57||ADDITIONAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF COUNCIL.|
|17.58||POWERS AND DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER.|
|17.59||FEES TO DEFRAY EXPENSES.|
|17.60||COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES.|
|17.601||[Repealed, 1982 c 582 s 14]|
|17.63||REFUND OF FEES.|
|17.64||TERMINATION OF ORDER.|
|17.65||[Repealed, 1982 c 582 s 14]|
|17.67||PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS.|
|17.68||[Repealed, 1982 c 582 s 14]|
|17.69||NONLIABILITY OF STATE.|
|17.692||DECLARATION OF POLICY.|
|17.695||MARKETING AND BARGAINING COMMITTEE.|
|17.696||UNFAIR PRACTICES OF HANDLERS AND ASSOCIATIONS.|
|17.697||INFORMATIONAL EXCHANGES; DISPUTE RESOLUTION.|
|17.698||FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN MEDIATION AND ARBITRATION.|
|17.699||[Repealed, 1998 c 373 s 20]|
|17.702||NEGOTIATION CLASSES REQUIRED.|
|17.703||[Repealed, 2001 c 161 s 58]|
|DISCLOSURE OF PRODUCTION CONTRACT TERMS|
|17.710||AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION CONTRACTS.|
|17.711||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.712||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.713||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.714||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.715||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.7155||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.716||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.717||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.718||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.719||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.72||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.721||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.722||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.723||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.724||[Repealed, 1975 c 227 s 10]|
|17.7241||[Repealed, 1988 c 688 art 7 s 8; 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.7242||[Repealed, 1988 c 688 art 7 s 8; 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.7243||[Repealed, 1988 c 688 art 7 s 8; 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.7244||[Repealed, 1988 c 688 art 7 s 8; 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.7245||[Repealed, 1988 c 688 art 7 s 8; 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.7246||[Repealed, 1988 c 688 art 7 s 8; 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.725||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.726||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.727||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.728||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.7285||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.729||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.73||[Repealed, 1989 c 326 art 6 s 34]|
|17.74||[Repealed, 1974 c 167 s 1]|
|17.75||[Repealed, 1974 c 167 s 1]|
|17.76||[Repealed, 2001 c 161 s 58; 1Sp2001 c 2 s 162]|
|AGRICULTURAL LAND PRESERVATION AND CONSERVATION|
|17.80||STATE AGRICULTURAL LAND PRESERVATION AND CONSERVATION POLICY.|
|17.82||PROHIBITED AGENCY ACTION.|
|17.83||[Repealed, 1995 c 233 art 2 s 57]|
|17.84||DUTIES OF COMMISSIONER.|
|LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION POLICY|
|17.844||LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION POLICY.|
|AGRICULTURAL LABORATORY SERVICES|
|URBAN FOREST PROMOTION
|17.86||URBAN FOREST PROMOTION AND DEVELOPMENT.|
|17.861||REPLACEMENT OF MERCURY MANOMETERS.|
|17.92||RECAPTURE OF CAPITAL INVESTMENT REQUIRED BY AN AGRICULTURAL CONTRACT.|
|17.93||PARENT COMPANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR CONTRACTS OF SUBSIDIARIES.|
|17.94||IMPLIED PROMISE OF GOOD FAITH.|
|17.941||PRODUCER'S RIGHT TO CANCEL.|
|17.942||COVER SHEET REQUIREMENTS.|
|17.944||REVIEW BY COMMISSIONER.|
|17.9441||LIMITS ON REMEDIES.|
|17.9442||APPLICABILITY OF CONTRACT REQUIREMENTS.|
|17.9443||WAIVER OF CONTRACT PROVISIONS IS VOID.|
|17.95||DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OMBUDSMAN.|
|17.97||AGRICULTURAL INPUT PREPAYMENTS.|
|17.98||DAIRY MARKETING CONTRACTS EXCEPTED.|
|ENFORCEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL LAWS|
|17.981||[Repealed, 1996 c 310 s 1]|
|17.982||CRIMINAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES.|
|17.983||ADMINISTRATIVE PENALTIES AND ENFORCEMENT.|
|PASSING ON THE FARM CENTER|
|17.985||PASSING ON THE FARM CENTER.|
|ENTRY INTO FARM ANIMAL FACILITIES|
|17.986||ENTRY INTO FARM ANIMAL FACILITIES.|
|17.987||[Repealed, 1Sp2001 c 2 s 162]|
|WATER QUALITY CERTIFICATION PROGRAM|
|17.9894||CERTIFYING AGENT LICENSE.|
|17.9895||DUTIES OF A CERTIFYING AGENT.|
There is created a Department of Agriculture, which shall be in the charge of a commissioner of agriculture, in this chapter called the commissioner, who shall be appointed by the governor under the provisions of section 15.06. Before entering upon the duties of office, the commissioner shall take the oath required of state officials. The commissioner may appoint a deputy commissioner.
The commissioner of agriculture may designate the deputy commissioner of agriculture to act in the commissioner's stead as a member, with all the commissioner's rights and privileges therein, of any board, committee or commission that the commissioner is made a member of by law. The designation shall be filed with secretary of state.
The commissioner shall encourage and promote the development of agricultural industries, investigate marketing conditions affecting the marketing of farm products, and assist farmers, producers, and consumers in the organization and management of cooperative enterprises and the cooperative marketing of farm products; advise and assist in the location and establishment of local markets when the commissioner determines that the public necessity or the welfare of the community requires such markets, if satisfied that such markets will be successfully operated by a cooperative company or municipality. It shall be the duty of the Department of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota to cooperate in all ways that may be beneficial to the agricultural interests of the state. It is intended that police and organizational powers in reference to agriculture shall be exercised by the state Department of Agriculture and that the University of Minnesota shall retain its present powers and duties relating to obtaining and disseminating agricultural information and conducting agricultural research, and shall retain custody of scientific collections.
(a) The commissioner shall cooperate with the government of the United States, with financial agencies created to assist in the development of the agricultural resources of this state, and so far as practicable may use the facilities provided by the existing state departments and the various state and local organizations. This subdivision is intended to relate to every function and duty which devolves upon the commissioner.
(b) The commissioner may apply for, receive, and disburse federal funds made available to the state by federal law or regulation for any purpose related to the powers and duties of the commissioner. All money received by the commissioner under this paragraph shall be deposited in the state treasury and is appropriated to the commissioner for the purposes for which it was received. Money made available under this paragraph may be paid pursuant to applicable federal regulations and rate structures. Money received under this paragraph does not cancel and is available for expenditure according to federal law. The commissioner may contract with and enter into grant agreements with persons, organizations, educational institutions, firms, corporations, other state agencies, and any agency or instrumentality of the federal government to carry out agreements made with the federal government relating to the expenditure of money under this paragraph. Bid requirements under chapter 16C do not apply to contracts under this paragraph.
The commissioner is authorized to publish, from time to time, such marketing or other information as may be deemed necessary to the welfare of agriculture, and to that end may investigate marketing or other conditions relating to agriculture in this and in other states, and to make these investigations public in such manner as shall in the commissioner's judgment be most effective.
The commissioner of agriculture and the commissioner of employment and economic development shall cooperate with each other to promote the beneficial agricultural interests of the state. The commissioner of agriculture has primary responsibility for promoting state agricultural interests to international markets. The commissioner of agriculture is also responsible for the promotion of national trade programs related to international marketing. The commissioner of agriculture has primary responsibility for promoting the agriculture interests of producers, promoting state agricultural markets, and promoting agricultural interests of the state in cooperative production and marketing efforts with other states and the United States Department of Agriculture. The commissioner of agriculture is also responsible for promoting the national and international marketing of state agricultural products.
The commissioner shall establish a program of agricultural diversification. The commissioner must assist the horticultural industry, help producers diversify farming operations, and coordinate state agency efforts regarding agricultural diversification, after consulting with farm groups, the University of Minnesota, and applicable institutions of higher learning. The commissioner shall report to the governor and legislature annually on activities and actions that should be taken in these matters.
(a) The commissioner shall devise means of advancing the production and marketing of nontraditional agricultural products of the state. The commissioner shall also seek the cooperation and involvement of every department or agency of the state, and such public and nonpublic organizations as the commissioner deems appropriate, for the promotion of nontraditional agricultural products.
(b) The production and marketing of nontraditional agricultural products are considered agricultural pursuits.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in law, the commissioner may adopt appropriate rules concerning health standards for nontraditional agriculture.
(d) Except as otherwise provided in law, the slaughter of all meat producing animals, fowl, or fish that are nontraditional agriculture intended for sale in commercial outlets must occur at an inspected slaughterhouse.
(e) Except as otherwise provided in law, it is the responsibility of an owner to take all reasonable actions to maintain the nontraditional agriculture on property owned or leased by the owner, including the construction of fences, enclosures, or other barriers, and housing of a suitable design.
(f) For purposes of this subdivision, "nontraditional agriculture" and "nontraditional agricultural products" includes but is not limited to aquaculture as defined in section 17.47, subdivision 2, and the production of animals domesticated from wild stock, either native or nonnative, that are kept in confinement by the owner.
(a) The department may charge a fee for farm crisis assistance services it provides to persons outside of the department.
(b) The state is not liable for the actions of persons under contract with the department who provide farm crisis assistance services as part of their contractual duties. Persons who provide farm crisis assistance are not subject to liability for their actions that are within the scope of their contract. The immunity from liability in this subdivision is in addition to and not a limitation of immunity otherwise accorded to the state and its contractors under law.
(c) Fees collected by the department under this subdivision must be deposited in the general fund.
(d) Persons under contract with the department to provide farm crisis assistance are not employees of the state.
(a) The commissioner may accept for and on behalf of the state any gift, bequest, devise, grant, or interest in money or personal property of any kind tendered to the state for any purpose pertaining to the activities of the Department of Agriculture or any of its divisions.
(b) The commissioner may charge a fee for reports, publications, or other promotional or informational material produced by the Department of Agriculture. The commissioner may solicit and accept advertising revenue for any departmental publications or promotional materials.
(c) The fees collected by the commissioner under this section are to recover all or part of the costs of providing services for which the fees are paid.
(d) Money received by the commissioner for these activities may be credited to one or more special accounts in the state treasury. Money in those special accounts is annually appropriated to the commissioner to provide the services for which the money was received.
It is part of the department's mission that within the department's resources the commissioner shall endeavor to:
(1) prevent the waste or unnecessary spending of public money;
(2) use innovative fiscal and human resource practices to manage the state's resources and operate the department as efficiently as possible;
(3) coordinate the department's activities wherever appropriate with the activities of other governmental agencies;
(4) use technology where appropriate to increase agency productivity, improve customer service, increase public access to information about government, and increase public participation in the business of government;
(5) utilize constructive and cooperative labor-management practices to the extent otherwise required by chapters 43A and 179A;
(6) report to the legislature on the performance of agency operations and the accomplishment of agency goals in the agency's biennial budget according to section 16A.10, subdivision 1; and
(7) recommend to the legislature appropriate changes in law necessary to carry out the mission and improve the performance of the department.
(a) It is the goal of the Department of Agriculture that environmental and resource management permits be issued or denied within 150 days of the submission of a completed permit application. The commissioner of agriculture shall establish management systems designed to achieve the goal.
(b) The commissioner shall prepare semiannual permitting efficiency reports that include statistics on meeting the goal in paragraph (a). The reports are due February 1 and August 1 of each year. For permit applications that have not met the goal, the report must state the reasons for not meeting the goal, steps that will be taken to complete action on the application, and the expected timeline. In stating the reasons for not meeting the goal, the commissioner shall separately identify delays caused by the responsiveness of the proposer, lack of staff, scientific or technical disagreements, or the level of public engagement. The report must specify the number of days from initial submission of the application to the day of determination that the application is complete. The report for the final quarter of the fiscal year must aggregate the data for the year and assess whether program or system changes are necessary to achieve the goal. The report must be posted on the department Web site and submitted to the governor and the chairs of the house of representatives and senate committees having jurisdiction over agriculture policy and finance.
(c) The commissioner shall allow electronic submission of environmental review and permit documents to the department.
The commissioner may accept money as part of a contract with any public or private entity to provide statutorily prescribed services by the department. A contract must specify the services to be provided by the department and the amount and method of reimbursement. Money generated in a contractual agreement under this section must be deposited in a special revenue fund and is appropriated to the department for purposes of providing services specified in the contracts. Contracts under this section must be processed in accordance with section 16C.05.
(a) The commissioner shall submit to the legislative committees having jurisdiction over appropriations from the agricultural fund in section 16A.531 reports on the amount of revenue raised in each fee account within the fund, the expenditures from each account, and the purposes for which the expenditures were made. The reports must be issued in February and November each year, to coincide with the forecasts of revenue and expenditures prepared under section 16A.103.
(b) The report delivered in February of each year must include the commissioner's recommendations, if any, for changes in statutes relating to the fee accounts of the agricultural fund.
(6024, 6027) 1919 c 444 s 2,6; 1921 c 78 s 2,5; 1923 c 261 s 2,5; 1945 c 27 s 1; 1961 c 113 s 1; 1975 c 319 s 1; 1975 c 339 s 1; 1984 c 654 art 2 s 66; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 11; 1987 c 396 art 8 s 1; art 10 s 1; 1992 c 513 art 2 s 12,13; 1994 c 642 s 1; 1995 c 248 art 11 s 3; 1996 c 305 art 3 s 2; 1997 c 27 s 1; 1997 c 187 art 2 s 1; 1997 c 216 s 18; 1998 c 366 s 47; 1998 c 386 art 2 s 16; 1999 c 231 s 22; 2003 c 128 art 13 s 1; 1Sp2003 c 4 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 1 s 7; 2007 c 45 art 1 s 8; 2009 c 94 art 1 s 9; 2010 c 333 art 1 s 4; 2013 c 114 art 2 s 2; 2014 c 181 s 1
A meat processor holding a license under chapter 28A may apply to the commissioner of agriculture for reimbursement of $70 towards the cost of processing donated deer. The meat processor shall deliver the deer, processed into cuts or ground meat, to a charitable organization that is registered under chapter 309 and with the commissioner of agriculture and that operates a food assistance program. To request reimbursement, the processor shall submit an application, on a form prescribed by the commissioner of agriculture, the tag number under which the deer was taken, and a receipt for the deer from the charitable organization.
(a) The commissioner of agriculture shall ensure the equitable statewide distribution of processed deer by requiring the charitable organization to allocate and distribute processed deer according to the allocation formula used in the distribution of United States Department of Agriculture commodities under the federal emergency food assistance program. The charitable organization must submit quarterly reports to the commissioner on forms prescribed by the commissioner. The reports must include, but are not limited to, information on the amount of processed deer received and the organizations to which the meat was distributed.
(b) The commissioner of agriculture may adopt rules to implement this section.
Ethical guidelines developed by the commissioner must be part of the contract with each farm advocate.
The commissioner shall cause to be enforced all the provisions of all laws designed to prevent fraud and deception in the manufacture and sale of food and the several ingredients thereof, and shall have authority to take all proper educational measures to foster and promote the manufacture and sale of pure food products.
For the purposes of expanding, improving, and developing production and marketing of products of Minnesota agriculture, the commissioner shall encourage and promote the production and marketing of these products by means of:
(a) advertising Minnesota agricultural products;
(b) assisting state agricultural commodity organizations;
(c) developing methods to increase processing and marketing of agricultural commodities including commodities not being produced in Minnesota on a commercial scale, but which may have economic potential in national and international markets;
(d) investigating and identifying new marketing technology and methods to enhance the competitive position of Minnesota agricultural products;
(e) evaluating livestock marketing opportunities;
(f) assessing and developing national and international markets for Minnesota agricultural products;
(g) studying the conversion of raw agricultural products to manufactured products including ethanol;
(h) hosting the visits of foreign trade teams to Minnesota and defraying the teams' expenses;
(i) assisting Minnesota agricultural businesses desiring to sell their products;
(j) conducting research to eliminate or reduce specific production or technological barriers to market development and trade; and
(k) other activities the commissioner deems appropriate to promote Minnesota agricultural products, provided that the activities do not duplicate programs or services provided by the Minnesota Trade Division.
In order to carry out the duties in subdivision 1, the commissioner, in addition to whatever other resources the department may commit, shall make grants and enter into contracts to fulfill the obligations of subdivision 1. The commissioner may enter into partnerships or seek gifts to carry out subdivision 1. The commissioner may contract with, among others, agricultural commodity organizations, the University of Minnesota, and agriculture related businesses to fulfill the duties. The commissioner shall make permanent rules for the administration of these grants and contracts. The rules shall specify at a minimum:
(a) eligibility criteria;
(b) application procedures;
(c) provisions for application review and project approval;
(d) provisions for program monitoring and review for all approved grants and contracts; and
(e) other provisions the commissioner finds necessary.
Contracts entered into by the commissioner pursuant to this subdivision shall not exceed 75 percent of the cost of the project supported by the commissioner's grant. In any year, no organization shall receive more than $70,000 in grants from the commissioner.
The books, records, documents, and accounting procedures and practices of any organization receiving a grant or contract from the commissioner under the provisions of subdivision 2 shall be subject to examination by the department. The commissioner may prescribe uniform methods of accounting to be used by grant or contract recipients.
The commissioner may establish an ad hoc advisory group to assist in evaluating grant requests made under subdivision 2.
For purposes of this section:
(1) "agricultural commodity" means a material produced for use in or as food, feed, seed, or fiber and includes crops for fiber, food, oilseeds, seeds, livestock, livestock products, dairy, dairy products, poultry, poultry products, and other products or by-products of the farm produced for the same or similar use, except ethanol; and
(2) "agricultural product processing facility" means land, buildings, structures, fixtures, and improvements located or to be located in Minnesota and used or operated primarily for the processing or production of marketable products from agricultural commodities produced in Minnesota.
The commissioner shall establish a process, including criteria and standards, to recognize and assist efforts by counties to maintain or expand their livestock sector.
A county that meets the criteria may apply to the commissioner to be designated a "livestock friendly" county.
1963 c 486 s 1; 1983 c 293 s 29; 1984 c 640 s 32; 1986 c 444; 1987 c 312 art 1 s 12; 1987 c 396 art 10 s 2; 1995 c 233 art 2 s 56; 1997 c 216 s 19; 1998 c 401 s 14; 2000 c 260 s 9; 2000 c 477 s 1; 1Sp2001 c 2 s 19; 2002 c 373 s 1; 2003 c 128 art 13 s 2; 2007 c 45 art 1 s 9; 2014 c 181 s 2
In order to accomplish the purposes of section 17.101, the commissioner may participate jointly with private persons in appropriate programs and projects and may enter into contracts to carry out those programs and projects. The contracts may not include the acquisition of land or buildings and are not subject to the provisions of chapter 16C relating to competitive bidding.
The commissioner may spend money appropriated for the purposes of section 17.101 in the same manner that private persons, firms, corporations, and associations make expenditures for these purposes, and expenditures made pursuant to section 17.101 for food, lodging, or travel are not governed by the travel rules of the commissioner of management and budget.
(a) The commissioner shall establish a "Minnesota grown" logo or labeling statement for use in identifying agricultural products that are grown, raised, processed, or manufactured in this state. The commissioner may develop labeling statements that apply to specific marketing or promotional needs. One version of a labeling statement must identify food products certified as organically grown in this state. The Minnesota grown logo or labeling statement may be used on products only if 80 percent or more of the agricultural product is produced in this state.
(b) The Minnesota grown logo or labeling statement may not be used without a license from the commissioner except that wholesalers and retailers may use the Minnesota grown logo and labeling statement for displaying and advertising products that qualify for use of the Minnesota grown logo or labeling statement.
The logo or labeling statement does not supersede or replace any federal label or grade standard that is required by law.
A person may not use the Minnesota grown logo or labeling without an annual license from the commissioner. The commissioner shall issue licenses for a fee of $20.
The Minnesota grown account is established as an account in the agricultural fund. License fee receipts and penalties collected under this section must be deposited in the agricultural fund and credited to the Minnesota grown account. The money in the account is continuously appropriated to the commissioner for the direct costs of implementing the Minnesota grown program.
The Minnesota grown account shall consist of license fees, penalties, advertising revenue, revenue from the development and sale of promotional materials, gifts, and appropriations.
Appropriations from the Minnesota grown account may be expended only to the extent that they are matched with contributions to the account from private sources on a basis of at least $1 of private contributions to each $4 of state money. For the purposes of this subdivision, "private contributions" includes, but is not limited to, license fees, penalties, advertising revenue, revenue from the development and sale of promotional materials, and gifts.
A person who is required to have a license and uses the Minnesota grown logo or labeling without a license after being notified by the commissioner that a license is required is subject to a civil penalty up to $1,000.
The commissioner shall promulgate rules authorizing and licensing the use of the logo or labeling statement.
The Minnesota Extension Service, in cooperation with the commissioner of agriculture, shall implement a voluntary farm equipment safety program for training and certifying rural youth. The program must be designed to teach young operators to safely maintain and operate tractors and other farm implements. The Extension Service shall maintain records adequate to verify the names and addresses of students certified by the safety program.
Not later than August 1, 1991, the Minnesota Extension Service shall design a program for the recruitment and development of qualified instructors for the youth farm equipment safety program created under subdivision 1.
From within public or nonpublic funds made available for the youth farm equipment safety program created under subdivision 1, the commissioner of agriculture may make payments of $25 per student to qualified instructors on a per-student basis.
To assure the viability of agriculture in this state, the commissioner shall investigate, demonstrate, report on, and make recommendations on the current and future sustainability of agriculture in this state. The Department of Agriculture is the lead state agency on sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management.
For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:
(a) "Sustainable agriculture" represents the best aspects of traditional and modern agriculture by using a fundamental understanding of nature as well as the latest scientific advances to create integrated, self-reliant, resource conserving practices that enhance the enrichment of the environment and provide short- and long-term productive and economical agriculture.
(b) "Integrated pest management" means use of a combination of approaches, incorporating the judicious application of ecological principles, management techniques, cultural and biological controls, and chemical methods, to keep pests below levels where they do economic damage.
The commissioner shall:
(1) establish a clearinghouse and provide information, appropriate educational opportunities and other assistance to individuals, producers, and groups about sustainable agricultural techniques, practices, and opportunities;
(2) survey producers and support services and organizations to determine information and research needs in the area of sustainable agricultural practices;
(3) demonstrate the on-farm applicability of sustainable agriculture practices to conditions in this state;
(4) coordinate the efforts of state agencies regarding activities relating to sustainable agriculture;
(5) direct the programs of the department so as to work toward the sustainability of agriculture in this state;
(6) inform agencies of how state or federal programs could utilize and support sustainable agriculture practices;
(7) work closely with farmers, the University of Minnesota, and other appropriate organizations to identify opportunities and needs as well as assure coordination and avoid duplication of state agency efforts regarding research, teaching, and extension work relating to sustainable agriculture; and
(8) work cooperatively with local governments and others to strengthen the connection between farmers who practice sustainable farming methods and urban, rural, and suburban consumers, including, but not limited to, promoting local farmers' markets and community-supported agriculture.
(a) The state shall promote and facilitate the use of integrated pest management through education, technical or financial assistance, information and research.
(b) The commissioner shall coordinate the development of a state approach to the promotion and use of integrated pest management, which shall include delineation of the responsibilities of the state, public postsecondary institutions, Minnesota Extension Service, local units of government, and the private sector; establishment of information exchange and integration; procedures for identifying research needs and reviewing and preparing informational materials; procedures for factoring integrated pest management into state laws, rules, and uses of pesticides; and identification of barriers to adoption.
The commissioner shall establish a shared savings loan program to provide loans that enable farmers to adopt best management practices that emphasize sufficiency and self-sufficiency in agricultural inputs, including energy efficiency, reduction or improved management of inputs, increasing energy production by agricultural producers, and environmental improvements.
(a) The shared savings loan program must provide loans for purchase of new or used machinery and installation of equipment for projects that make environmental improvements and enhance farm profitability. Eligible loan uses do not include seed, fertilizer, or fuel.
(b) Loans may not exceed $40,000 per individual applying for a loan and may not exceed $160,000 for loans to four or more individuals on joint projects. The loan repayment period may be up to seven years as determined by project cost and energy savings. The interest rate on the loans must not exceed six percent.
(c) Loans may only be made to residents of this state engaged in farming.
(a) Applications for loans must be made to the commissioner on forms prescribed by the commissioner.
(b) The applications must be reviewed, ranked, and recommended by a loan review panel appointed by the commissioner. The loan review panel shall consist of two lenders with agricultural experience, two resident farmers of the state using sustainable agriculture methods, two resident farmers of the state using organic agriculture methods, a farm management specialist, a representative from a postsecondary education institution, and a chair from the department.
(c) The loan review panel shall rank applications according to the following criteria:
(1) realize savings to the cost of agricultural production;
(2) reduce or make more efficient use of energy or inputs;
(3) increase overall farm profitability; and
(4) result in environmental benefits.
(d) A loan application must show that the loan can be repaid by the applicant.
(e) The commissioner must consider the recommendations of the loan review panel and may make loans for eligible projects.
The amount in the revolving loan account is appropriated to the commissioner to make loans under this section and administer the loan program. The interest on the money in the revolving loan account and the interest on loans repaid to the state may be spent by the commissioner for administrative expenses. The commissioner shall collect and disseminate information relating to projects for which loans are given under this section.
Appropriations in Laws 1998, chapter 401, section 6, must be used for revolving loans for demonstration projects of farm manure digester technology. Notwithstanding the limitations of subdivision 2, paragraphs (b) and (c), loans under this subdivision are no-interest loans in principal amounts not to exceed $200,000 and may be made to any resident of this state. Loans for one or more projects must be made only after the commissioner seeks applications. Loans under this program may be used as a match for federal loans or grants. Money repaid from loans must be returned to the revolving fund for future projects.
The commissioner shall establish a grant program for sustainable agriculture methods that demonstrates best management practices, including farm input reduction or management, enterprise diversification including new crops and livestock, farm energy efficiency or production, or the transfer of technologies that enhance the environment and farm profitability. The commissioner shall use the program to demonstrate and publicize the energy efficiency, environmental benefit, and profitability of sustainable agriculture techniques or systems from production through marketing. The grants must fund research or demonstrations on farms consistent with the program objectives.
(a) Grants may only be made to farmers, educational institutions, individuals at educational institutions, or nonprofit organizations residing or located in the state for research or demonstrations on farms in the state.
(b) Grants may only be made for projects that show:
(1) the ability to maximize direct or indirect energy savings or production;
(2) a positive effect or reduced adverse effect on the environment; and
(3) increased profitability for the individual farm by reducing costs or improving marketing opportunities.
(a) Applications for grants must be made to the commissioner on forms prescribed by the commissioner.
(b) The applications must be reviewed, ranked, and recommended by a technical review panel appointed by the commissioner. The technical review panel shall consist of a soil scientist, an agronomist, a representative from a postsecondary educational institution, an agricultural marketing specialist, two resident farmers of the state using sustainable agriculture methods, two resident farmers of the state using organic agriculture methods, and a chair from the department.
(c) The technical review panel shall rank applications according to the following criteria:
(1) direct or indirect energy savings or production;
(2) environmental benefit;
(3) farm profitability;
(4) the number of farms able to apply the techniques or the technology proposed;
(5) the effectiveness of the project as a demonstration;
(6) the immediate transferability of the project to farms; and
(7) the ability of the project to accomplish its goals.
(d) The commissioner shall consider the recommendations of the technical review panel and may award grants for eligible projects. Priority must be given to applicants who are farmers or groups of farmers.
(e) Grants for eligible projects may not exceed $25,000 unless the portion above $25,000 is matched on an equal basis by the applicant's cash or in-kind land use contribution. Grant funding of projects may not exceed $50,000 under this section, but applicants may utilize other funding sources. A portion of each grant must be targeted for public information activities of the project.
(f) A project may continue for up to three years. Multiyear projects must be reevaluated by the technical review panel and the commissioner before second or third year funding is approved. A project is limited to one grant for its funding.
The purpose of the agriculture best management practices loan program is to provide low or no interest financing to farmers, agriculture supply businesses, rural landowners, and water-quality cooperatives for the implementation of agriculture and other best management practices that reduce environmental pollution.
The commissioner may develop administrative guidelines specifying criteria, standards, and procedures for making loans and establish, adopt rules for, and implement a program to make loans or otherwise provide funds to local units of government, federal authorities, lending institutions, and other appropriate organizations who will in turn provide loans to landowners and businesses for facilities, fixtures, equipment, or other best management practices that prevent or mitigate pollution or other adverse environmental impacts. The agriculture best management practices loan program must provide a consistent programmatic framework for the disbursement and administration of funds available to the commissioner designated to the program for protection of environmental quality or remediation or mitigation of adverse environmental impacts. The distribution of loans or funds through the program must comply with all limitations, provisions, or requirements of the respective funding sources. Unless otherwise limited by the funding source, the commissioner shall manage the program using perpetual revolving fund accounts.
Up to $140,000,000 of the balance in the clean water revolving fund in section 446A.07, as determined by the Public Facilities Authority, is appropriated to the commissioner for the establishment of this program. In addition, the commissioner may receive appropriations from the legislature and grants or funds from other sources for implementation of the program.
(a) For the purposes of this section, the terms defined in this subdivision have the meanings given them.
(b) "Agricultural and environmental revolving accounts" means accounts in the agricultural fund, controlled by the commissioner, which hold funds available to the program.
(c) "Agriculture supply business" means a person, partnership, joint venture, corporation, limited liability company, association, firm, public service company, or cooperative that provides materials, equipment, or services to farmers or agriculture-related enterprises.
(d) "Allocation" means the funds awarded to an applicant for implementation of best management practices through a competitive or noncompetitive application process.
(e) "Applicant" means a local unit of government eligible to participate in this program that requests an allocation of funds as provided in subdivision 6b.
(f) "Best management practices" has the meaning given in sections 103F.711, subdivision 3, and 103H.151, subdivision 2, or other practices, techniques, and measures that have been demonstrated to the satisfaction of the commissioner to prevent or reduce adverse environmental impacts by using the most effective and practicable means of achieving environmental goals.
(g) "Borrower" means a farmer, an agriculture supply business, or a rural landowner applying for a low-interest loan.
(h) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of agriculture, including when the commissioner is acting in the capacity of chair of the Rural Finance Authority, or the designee of the commissioner.
(i) "Committed project" means an eligible project scheduled to be implemented at a future date:
(1) that has been approved and certified by the local government unit; and
(2) for which a local lender has obligated itself to offer a loan.
(k) "Cost incurred" means expenses for implementation of a project accrued because the borrower has agreed to purchase equipment or is obligated to pay for services or materials already provided as a result of implementing an approved eligible project.
(l) "Farmer" means a person, partnership, joint venture, corporation, limited liability company, association, firm, public service company, or cooperative that regularly participates in physical labor or operations management of farming and files a Schedule F as part of filing United States Internal Revenue Service Form 1040 or indicates farming as the primary business activity under Schedule C, K, or S, or any other applicable report to the United States Internal Revenue Service.
(m) "Lender agreement" means an agreement entered into between the commissioner and a local lender which contains terms and conditions of participation in the program.
(n) "Local government unit" means a county, soil and water conservation district, or an organization formed for the joint exercise of powers under section 471.59 with the authority to participate in the program.
(o) "Local lender" means a local government unit as defined in paragraph (n), a state or federally chartered bank, a savings association, a state or federal credit union, Agribank and its affiliated organizations, or a nonprofit economic development organization or other financial lending institution approved by the commissioner.
(p) "Local revolving loan account" means the account held by a local government unit and a local lender into which principal repayments from borrowers are deposited and new loans are issued in accordance with the requirements of the program and lender agreements.
(q) "Nonpoint source" has the meaning given in section 103F.711, subdivision 6.
(r) "Program" means the agriculture best management practices loan program in this section.
(s) "Project" means one or more components or activities located within Minnesota that are required by the local government unit to be implemented for satisfactory completion of an eligible best management practice.
(t) "Rural landowner" means the owner of record of Minnesota real estate located in an area determined by the local government unit to be rural after consideration of local land use patterns, zoning regulations, jurisdictional boundaries, local community definitions, historical uses, and other pertinent local factors.
(u) "Water-quality cooperative" has the meaning given in section 115.58, paragraph (d), except as expressly limited in this section.
Use of funds under this section must be in compliance with the rules and regulations of the funding source or appropriation. Use of funds from the Public Facilities Authority must comply with the federal Water Pollution Control Act, section 446A.07, and eligible activities listed in the intended use plan authorized in section 446A.07, subdivision 4.
(a) There shall be established in the special revenue fund revolving accounts to receive appropriations, transfers of the balances from previous appropriations for the activities under this section, and money from other sources. All balances from previous appropriations for activities under this section and repayments of loans granted under this section, including principal and interest, must be deposited into the appropriate revolving account created in this subdivision or the account created in subdivision 13. Interest earned in an account accrues to that account.
(b) The money in the revolving accounts and the account created in subdivision 13 is appropriated to the commissioner for the purposes of this section.
The commissioner may impose a nonrefundable application fee of $50 for each loan issued under the program. The fees must be credited to the agricultural best management practices administration account, which is hereby established in the special revenue fund. Interest earned in the account accrues to the account. Money in the account and interest earned in the accounts established in the agricultural fund under subdivision 5a are appropriated to the commissioner for administrative expenses of the program.
(a) Only the following local government units may apply for funds under this program:
(1) counties or their designees;
(2) soil and water conservation districts; and
(3) joint power organizations consisting of counties or their designees or soil and water conservation districts.
(b) A county may submit an application for an allocation. A county or a group of counties may designate another local government unit to submit a local allocation request on their behalf. If a county does not submit an application, and does not designate another local government unit, a soil and water conservation district may submit an application for an allocation. If the local soil and water conservation district does not submit an application, then an eligible joint powers organization may submit an application for an allocation. In all instances, there may be only one application representing any geographic area. The applicant must coordinate and submit requests on behalf of other units of government within the geographic jurisdiction of the applicant.
(c) The commissioner must prescribe forms and establish an application process for applicants to apply for an allocation of funds. The application must include but need not be limited to (1) the geographic area served; (2) the type and estimated cost of activities or projects for which they are seeking an allocation; and (3) prioritization or targeting of proposed activities or projects.
(d) If an application is rejected, the applicant must be notified in writing as to the reasons for the rejection and given 30 days to submit a revised application. The revised application shall be reviewed according to the same procedure used to review the initial application. Failure of an applicant to be awarded funds does not constitute a rejection of the application.
(a) The commissioner shall chair a subcommittee for purposes of reviewing and ranking applications and recommending to the commissioner allocation amounts. The subcommittee consists of representatives of the Departments of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Health; the Pollution Control Agency; the Board of Water and Soil Resources; the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture; the Association of Minnesota Counties; the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts; and other agencies or associations the commissioner determines are appropriate.
(b) The subcommittee must use the criteria in clauses (1) to (9) as well as other criteria it determines appropriate in carrying out the review and ranking:
(1) whether the proposed activities are identified in a comprehensive water management plan or other appropriate local planning documents as priorities;
(2) the potential that the proposed activities have for improving or protecting environmental quality;
(3) the extent that the proposed activities support areawide or multijurisdictional approaches to protecting environmental quality based on defined watershed or similar geographic areas;
(4) whether the activities are needed for compliance with existing environmental laws or rules;
(5) whether the proposed activities demonstrate participation, coordination, and cooperation between local units of government and other public agencies;
(6) whether there is coordination with other public and private funding sources and programs;
(7) whether the applicant has targeted specific best management practices to resolve specific environmental problems;
(8) past performance of the applicant in completing projects identified in prior applications and allocation agreements; and
(9) whether there are off-site public benefits.
(a) The subcommittee created in subdivision 6a shall recommend to the commissioner the amount of allocation for each applicant. This allocation must include:
(1) the amount of repayments received by the commissioner during the previous year from prior completed projects approved by the local government unit; and
(2) the amount of funds previously designated to committed projects.
(b) Within the limits of the funds available to the commissioner, the subcommittee may recommend an increased allocation award to the applicant based on:
(1) the ranking of the local government unit application under subdivision 6a; and
(2) the amount of unallocated or uncommitted funds in, or that will be received by, the agricultural and environmental revolving accounts within one year.
(c) Notwithstanding paragraphs (a) and (b), the commissioner may reserve up to two percent of all funds appropriated to the agricultural and environmental revolving accounts to be allocated to applicants that disburse or commit all of their current allocations or to local lenders who wish to provide financial assistance.
The commissioner may add, for the purposes of calculating future allocations under paragraphs (a) and (b), the loan amount for projects financed from these reserved funds to the allocation for the respective local government units in which jurisdiction the project was completed.
(a) Payments made from the commissioner to the local lender must be made in accordance with applicable state and federal laws and rules governing the payments and the lender agreement.
(b) Payments from the commissioner to the local lender must be disbursed on a cost-incurred basis. The request must be made in accordance with requirements and procedures established by the commissioner. Payment requests must be reviewed and approved by the commissioner.
(a) Eligible local government units with an allocation award may enter into an allocation agreement with the commissioner and participate in this program.
(b) The allocation agreement must contain terms and conditions for participation in this program and providing of funds through this program, including, but not limited to: program requirements, reporting requirements, project eligibility and limitations, allowable expenses, limitations, rescission and cancellation provisions, and the responsibilities of the commissioner, local government unit, and local lender.
(c) If the commissioner determines that a local government unit is not in compliance with the terms of the allocation agreement, the commissioner may rescind all or part of any allocation awarded through this program.
(a) Continued availability of allocations granted to a local government unit is contingent upon the commissioner's approval of the local government unit's annual report. The commissioner shall review this annual report to ensure that the past and future uses of the funds are consistent with the comprehensive water management plan, other local planning documents, the requirements of the funding source, and compliance to program requirements. If the commissioner concludes the past or intended uses of the money are not consistent with these requirements, the commissioner shall rescind all or part of the allocation awarded to a local government unit.
(b) The commissioner may rescind funds allocated to the local government unit that are not designated to committed projects or disbursed within one year from the date of the allocation agreement.
(c) An additional year to use the undisbursed portion of an allocation may be granted by the commissioner under extenuating circumstances.
(a) A local government unit that enters into an allocation agreement with the commissioner:
(1) is responsible for the local administration and implementation of the program in accordance with this section;
(2) may submit applications for allocations to the commissioner;
(3) shall identify, develop, determine eligibility, define and approve projects, designate maximum loan amounts for projects, and certify completion of projects implemented under this program. In areas where no local government unit has applied for funds under this program, the commissioner may appoint a local government unit to review and certify projects or the commissioner may assume the authority and responsibility of the local government unit;
(4) shall certify as eligible only projects that are within its geographic jurisdiction or within the geographic area identified in its local comprehensive water management plans or other local planning documents;
(5) may require withholding by the local lender of all or a portion of the loan to the borrower until satisfactory completion of all required components of a certified project;
(6) must identify which account is used to finance an approved project if the local government unit has allocations from multiple accounts in the agricultural and environmental revolving accounts;
(7) shall report to the commissioner annually the past and intended uses of allocations awarded; and
(8) may request additional funds in excess of their allocation when funds are available in the agricultural and environmental revolving accounts, as long as all other allocation awards to the local government unit have been used or committed.
(b) If a local government unit withdraws from participation in this program, the local government unit, or the commissioner in accordance with the priorities established under subdivision 6a, may designate another local government unit that is eligible under subdivision 6 as the new local government unit responsible for local administration of this program. This designated local government unit may accept responsibility and administration of allocations awarded to the former responsible local government unit.
(a) Any local lender entering into a lender agreement with the commissioner may participate in this program.
(b) The lender agreement will contain terms and conditions for participation in this program and providing funds to the local lenders, including but not limited to, program requirements, loan and account management requirements, payments, repayments, term limits, allowable expenses, fee limitations, rescission and cancellation provisions, collateral and security requirements, reporting requirements, review and appeal procedure for cancellation of the loan agreement or disqualification as a local lender, and the responsibilities of the commissioner, local government unit, and local lender.
(c) If the commissioner determines that a local lender is not in compliance with the terms of the lender agreement, the commissioner may take the following actions:
(1) disqualifying the local lender as a participating lender in this program for a period of up to five years from the date that the commissioner determines noncompliance to the lender agreement; and
(2) requiring immediate or accelerated repayment of all or part of all funds provided to the local lender.
(d) Existing lender agreements, executed prior to July 1, 2001, may be amended by mutual consent of all signatory parties, to comply with this section, to establish a single allocation agreement that includes the amount of prior allocation awards and defines the terms and conditions required under subdivision 8, or to modify the amount of allocation awarded.
(a) Local lenders may enter into lender agreements with the commissioner.
(b) Local lenders may enter into loan agreements with borrowers to finance eligible projects under this section.
(c) The local lender shall notify the local government unit of the loan amount issued to the borrower after the closing of each loan.
(d) Local lenders with local revolving loan accounts created before July 1, 2001, may continue to retain and use those accounts in accordance with their lending agreements for the full term of those agreements.
(e) Local lenders, including local government units designating themselves as the local lender, may enter into participation agreements with other lenders.
(f) Local lenders may enter into contracts with other lenders for the limited purposes of loan review, processing and servicing, or to enter into loan agreements with borrowers to finance projects under this section. Other lenders entering into contracts with local lenders under this section must meet the definition of local lender in subdivision 4, must comply with all provisions of the lender agreement and this section, and must guarantee repayment of the loan funds to the local lender.
(g) When required by the local government unit, a local lender must withhold all or a portion of the loan disbursement for a project until notified by the local government unit that the project has been satisfactorily completed.
(h) The local lender is responsible for repaying all funds provided by the commissioner to the local lender.
(i) The local lender is responsible for collecting repayments from borrowers. If a borrower defaults on a loan issued by the local lender, it is the responsibility of the local lender to obtain repayment from the borrower. Default on the part of borrowers shall have no effect on the local lender's responsibility to repay its obligations to the commissioner whether or not the local lender fully recovers defaulted amounts from borrowers.
(j) The local lender shall provide sufficient collateral or protection to the commissioner for the funds provided to the local lender. The commissioner must approve the collateral or protection provided.
(a) Local lenders may issue loans only for projects that are approved and certified by the local government unit as meeting priority needs identified in a comprehensive water management plan or other local planning documents, are in compliance with accepted practices, standards, specifications, or criteria, and are eligible for financing under Environmental Protection Agency or other applicable guidelines.
(b) The local lender may use any additional criteria considered necessary to determine the eligibility of borrowers for loans.
(c) Local lenders shall set the terms and conditions of loans to borrowers, except that:
(1) no loan to a borrower may exceed $100,000;
(2) no loan for a project may exceed $100,000; and
(3) no borrower shall, at any time, have multiple loans from this program with a total outstanding loan balance of more than $100,000.
(d) The maximum term length for projects in this paragraph is ten years.
(e) Fees charged at the time of closing must:
(1) be in compliance with normal and customary practices of the local lender;
(2) be in accordance with published fee schedules issued by the local lender;
(3) not be based on participation program; and
(4) be consistent with fees charged other similar types of loans offered by the local lender.
(f) The interest rate assessed to an outstanding loan balance by the local lender must not exceed three percent per year.
All projects that remediate or mitigate adverse environmental impacts are eligible if:
(1) the project is eligible under the allocation agreement and funding sources designated by the local government unit to finance the project; and
(2) manure management projects remediate or mitigate impacts from facilities with less than 1,000 animal units as defined in Minnesota Rules, chapter 7020.
The following data on local government units, local lenders, or borrowers collected by the commissioner under this section are private for data on individuals as provided in section 13.02, subdivision 12, or nonpublic for data not on individuals as provided in section 13.02, subdivision 9: financial information, including, but not limited to, credit reports, financial statements, tax returns and net worth calculations received or prepared by the commissioner.
The Public Facilities Authority shall establish an account called the agriculture best management practices revolving account to provide loans and other forms of financial assistance authorized under section 446A.07. The account must be credited with repayments.
(a) The commissioner shall prepare and submit a report to the house of representatives and senate committees with jurisdiction over the environment, natural resources, and agriculture by October 15 of each odd-numbered year.
(b) The report shall include, but need not be limited to, matters such as loan allocations and uses, the extent to which the financial assistance is helping implement local water and other environmental planning priorities, the integration or coordination that has occurred with related programs, and other matters deemed pertinent to the implementation of the program.
(a) The amount of loans and accruing interest made by counties acting as local lenders under this section is a lien against the real property for which the improvement was made and must be assessed against the property or properties benefited unless the amount is prepaid. An amount loaned under the program and its accruing interest assessed against the property is a priority lien only against subsequent liens.
(b) The county may bill amounts due on the loan on the tax statement for the property. Enforcement of the lien created by this subdivision must, at the county's option, be in the manner set forth in chapter 580 or 581. When the amount due and all interest has been paid, the county shall file a satisfaction of the lien created under this subdivision.
(c) A county may also secure amounts due on a loan under this section by taking a purchase money security interest in equipment in accordance with chapter 336, article 9, and may enforce the purchase money security interest in accordance with chapters 336, article 9, and 565.
For the purpose of obtaining a loan from the commissioner, a local government unit acting as a local lender may provide to the commissioner its general obligation note. All obligations incurred by a local government unit in obtaining a loan from the commissioner must be in accordance with chapter 475, except that so long as the obligations are issued to evidence a loan from the commissioner to the local government unit, an election is not required to authorize the obligations issued, and the amount of the obligations shall not be included in determining the net indebtedness of the local government unit under the provisions of any law or chapter limiting the indebtedness.
1994 c 632 art 2 s 11; 1995 c 202 art 1 s 25; 1995 c 220 s 28-39; 1996 c 407 s 12; 1999 c 86 art 3 s 3; 1999 c 231 s 28; 1Sp2001 c 2 s 25; 2002 c 220 art 9 s 5; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 1 s 8,9; 2007 c 45 art 1 s 15-19; 2008 c 277 art 3 s 1; 2011 c 107 s 1
The commissioner may award a livestock investment grant to a person who raises livestock in this state equal to ten percent of the first $500,000 of qualifying expenditures, provided the person makes qualifying expenditures of at least $4,000. The commissioner may award multiple livestock investment grants to a person over the life of the program as long as the cumulative amount does not exceed $50,000.
(a) For the purposes of this section, the terms defined in this subdivision have the meanings given them.
(b) "Livestock" means beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, poultry, goats, mules, farmed cervidae, ratitae, bison, sheep, horses, and llamas.
(c) "Qualifying expenditures" means the amount spent for:
(1) the acquisition, construction, or improvement of buildings or facilities for the production of livestock or livestock products;
(2) the development of pasture for use by livestock including, but not limited to, the acquisition, development, or improvement of:
(i) lanes used by livestock that connect pastures to a central location;
(ii) watering systems for livestock on pasture including water lines, booster pumps, and well installations;
(iii) livestock stream crossing stabilization; and
(iv) fences; or
(3) the acquisition of equipment for livestock housing, confinement, feeding, and waste management including, but not limited to, the following:
(i) freestall barns;
(ii) watering facilities;
(iii) feed storage and handling equipment;
(iv) milking parlors;
(v) robotic equipment;
(vii) milk storage and cooling facilities;
(viii) bulk tanks;
(ix) computer hardware and software and associated equipment used to monitor the productivity and feeding of livestock;
(x) manure pumping and storage facilities;
(xi) swine farrowing facilities;
(xii) swine and cattle finishing barns;
(xiii) calving facilities;
(xv) equipment used to produce energy;
(xvi) on-farm processing facilities equipment;
(xvii) fences; and
(xviii) livestock pens and corrals and sorting, restraining, and loading chutes.
Except for qualifying pasture development expenditures under clause (2), qualifying expenditures only include amounts that are allowed to be capitalized and deducted under either section 167 or 179 of the Internal Revenue Code in computing federal taxable income. Qualifying expenditures do not include an amount paid to refinance existing debt.
(a) To be eligible for a livestock investment grant, a person must:
(2) be the principal operator of the farm;
(3) hold a feedlot registration, if required; and
(4) apply to the commissioner on forms prescribed by the commissioner including a statement of the qualifying expenditures made during the qualifying period along with any proof or other documentation the commissioner may require.
(b) The $50,000 maximum grant applies at the entity level for partnerships, S corporations, C corporations, trusts, and estates as well as at the individual level. In the case of married individuals, the grant is limited to $50,000 for a married couple.
The commissioner, in consultation with the chairs and ranking minority members of the house of representatives and senate committees with jurisdiction over agriculture finance, shall develop competitive eligibility criteria and may allocate grants on a needs basis. The commissioner shall place any eligible unfunded applications on a waiting list and, notwithstanding subdivision 2, paragraph (d), give them consideration during the next fiscal year in which program funding is available. The commissioner shall notify in writing any applicant who applies for a grant and is ineligible under the provisions of this section as well as any applicant whose application is received or reviewed after the fiscal year funding limit has been reached.
(1) solid waste generated from the person's household or as part of the person's farming operation; or
(2) concrete or reinforcing bar from a building or structure located on the land used for farming.
Items in clauses (1) and (2) must be buried in a nuisance-free, pollution-free, and aesthetic manner on the land used for farming. The exception in clause (1) does not apply if regularly scheduled pickup of solid waste is reasonably available at the person's farm, as determined by resolution of the county board of the county where the person's farm is located.
(b) The exemption in paragraph (a), clause (1), does not apply to burning tires or plastics, except plastic baling twine, or to burning or burial of the following materials:
(1) household hazardous waste as defined in section 115A.96, subdivision 1;
(2) appliances, including but not limited to, major appliances as defined in section 115A.03, subdivision 17a;
(3) household batteries;
(4) used motor oil; and
(5) lead acid batteries from motor vehicles.
(c) Within 90 days after completion of the burial, an owner of land used for farming who buries material under the authority of paragraph (a), clause (2), shall record, with the county recorder or registrar of titles of the county in which the land is located, an affidavit containing a legal description of the property and a map drawn from available information showing the boundary of the property and the location of concrete or reinforcing bar buried on the property. The county recorder or registrar of titles must record an affidavit presented under this paragraph in a manner that ensures its disclosure in the ordinary course of a title search of the subject property.
Participating in an agricultural pursuit identified in this chapter is not determinative for the classification of property under chapter 273.
"Fur-bearing animal" means a fox, mink, fitch, chinchilla, karakul, marten, nutria, or fisher that is the second or later generation raised in captivity.
"Fur farmer" means a person engaged in breeding, raising, producing, and marketing fur-bearing animals or the products of fur-bearing animals.
Fur-bearing animals are domestic animals and products of fur-bearing animals are agricultural products. A fur farmer is engaged in an agricultural pursuit.
The commissioner shall establish a registration system for fur farmers. The registration system shall be designed to maintain information required by the commissioner, United States Department of Agriculture, and other agencies.
A fur farmer may register with the commissioner by submitting a completed registration form and a fee of $10 to the commissioner by December 31. The registration is valid for a calendar year. The registration form must state the name of the applicant, the location of the fur farming activity, the species of fur-bearing animals on the fur farm, and other information required by the commissioner.
The commissioner shall, if requested, furnish registered fur farmers tags, without a fee, for the transport and sale of fur-bearing animals and their products. A fur farmer transporting or selling pelts of fur-bearing animals may attach the tag to a package containing pelts.
A registered fur farmer must file a verified report of the number of pelts of each species of fur-bearing animal sold during the preceding calendar year. The report must be filed with the commissioner by December 31.
Unless the language or context clearly indicates that a different meaning is intended, the term "grain" shall mean whole seeds or entire grains or any broken parts thereof, of field peas, field beans, soybeans or entire legumes, or flax, wheat, rye, barley, oats, corn, sorghum, spelt or emmer, vetch, buckwheat, or any other cereals.
For the purposes of this section, the definitions in this subdivision have the meanings given them.
(a) "Apiary" means a place where a collection of one or more hives or colonies of bees or the nuclei of bees are kept.
(b) "Bee equipment" means hives, supers, frames, veils, gloves, and any apparatus, tool, machine, vehicle, or other device used in the handling, moving, or manipulating of bees, honey, wax, or hives, including containers of honey or wax, which may be used in an apiary or in transporting bees and their products and apiary supplies.
(c) "Bees" means any stage of the common honey bee, Apis mellifera (L).
(d) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of agriculture or the commissioner's designees or authorized agents.
To ensure continued access to foreign and domestic markets, the commissioner shall provide requested bee inspections and other necessary services.
On request, the commissioner may make inspections for sale of bees, bee equipment, or appliances or perform other necessary services.
The commissioner shall charge a fee or charge for expenses so as to recover the cost of performing the inspections and services in subdivision 3. If a person for whom these inspections or services are to be performed requests it, the commissioner shall provide to the person in advance an estimate of the fees or expenses that will be charged. All fees and charges collected under this section shall be deposited in the state treasury and credited to the agricultural fund. Revenue from inspection fees and other charges deposited in the agricultural fund, including any interest earned, is appropriated to the commissioner to perform the services provided for under this section.
Farmed cervidae are livestock and are not wild animals for purposes of game farm, hunting, or wildlife laws. Farmed cervidae and their products are farm products and livestock for purposes of financial transactions and collateral.
Raising farmed cervidae is agricultural production and an agricultural pursuit.
Farmed cervidae must be slaughtered and inspected in accordance with chapters 31 and 31A or the United States Department of Agriculture voluntary program for exotic animals, Code of Federal Regulations, title 9, part 352.
Persons selling or buying farmed cervidae sold as livestock, sold for human consumption, or sold for slaughter must comply with chapters 17A, 31, 31A, and 31B.
The definitions in this section apply to this section and section 17.454.
"Owner" means a person who owns or is responsible for the raising of ratitae.
"Ratitae" means members of the ratitae family (including ostriches, emus, and rheas) that are raised for the purpose of producing fiber, meat, or animal by-products or as breeding stock.
Ratitae are livestock and are not wild animals for purposes of hunting or wildlife laws. Ratitae and their products are farm products and livestock for purposes of financial transactions and collateral.
Raising ratitae is agricultural production and an agricultural pursuit.
Persons selling or buying ratitae sold as livestock, sold for human consumption, or sold for slaughter must comply with chapters 17A, 28A, 31, 31A, and 31B.
Ratitae must be slaughtered and inspected in accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture voluntary inspection program for exotic animals, Code of Federal Regulations, title 9, part 352.
Ratitae are subject to chapter 35 and the rules of the Board of Animal Health in the same manner as livestock and domestic animals, including provisions relating to importation and transportation.
The definitions in this section apply to this section and section 17.456.
"Llama" means a member of the genus lama that is raised for the purpose of producing fiber, meat, or animal by-products or as breeding stock.
"Owner" means a person who owns or is responsible for the raising of llamas.
Llamas are livestock and are not wild animals for purposes of hunting or wildlife laws. Llamas and their products are farm products and livestock for purposes of financial transactions and collateral.
Raising llamas is agricultural production and an agricultural pursuit.
Persons selling or buying llamas sold as livestock, sold for human consumption, or sold for slaughter must comply with chapters 17A, 28A, 31, 31A, and 31B.
Llamas are subject to chapter 35 and the rules of the Board of Animal Health in the same manner as livestock and domestic animals, including provisions relating to importation and transportation.
(a) The definitions in this subdivision apply to this section.
(b) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of agriculture.
(c) "Restricted species" means Eurasian wild pigs and their hybrids (Sus scrofa subspecies and Sus scrofa hybrids), excluding domestic hogs (S. scrofa domesticus).
(d) "Release" means an intentional introduction or escape of a species from the control of the owner or responsible party.
It is unlawful for a person to import, possess, propagate, transport, or release restricted species, except as provided in subdivision 3.
(a) The commissioner may issue permits for the transportation, possession, purchase, or importation of restricted species for scientific, research, educational, or commercial purposes. A permit issued under this subdivision may be revoked by the commissioner if the conditions of the permit are not met by the permittee or for any unlawful act or omission, including accidental escapes.
(b) The commissioner may issue permits for a person to possess and raise a restricted species for commercial purposes if the person was in possession of the restricted species on March 1, 1993. Under the permit, the number of breeding stock of the restricted species in the possession of the person may not increase by more than 25 percent and the person must comply with the certification requirements in subdivision 7.
(c) A person may possess a restricted species without a permit for a period not to exceed two days for the purpose of slaughtering the restricted species for human consumption.
In the event of an escape of a restricted species, the owner must notify within 24 hours a conservation officer and the Board of Animal Health and is responsible for the recovery of the species. The commissioner may capture or destroy the escaped animal at the owner's expense.
A person who violates subdivision 2, 4, or 7 is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(a) A person who possesses restricted species on July 1, 1993, must submit certified numbers of restricted species in the person's possession to the Board of Animal Health by June 1, 1993.
(b) Restricted species in the possession of a person must be marked in a permanent fashion to identify ownership. The restricted species must be marked as soon as practicable after birth or purchase.
The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of natural resources, shall develop criteria for approved containment measures for restricted species with the assistance of producers of restricted species.
A person who possesses restricted species must file a bond or deposit with the commissioner security in the form and in the amount determined by the commissioner to pay for the costs and damages caused by an escape of a restricted species.
The commissioner shall impose a fee for permits in an amount sufficient to cover the costs of issuing the permits and for facility inspections. The fee may not exceed $50. Fee receipts must be deposited in the general fund.
"Agroforestry" means the cultivation of short-rotation woody crops using agricultural practices to produce timber or forest products.
Agroforestry is an agricultural pursuit.
Horses and other equines raised for the purposes of riding, driving, farm or ranch work, competition, racing, recreation, sale, or as breeding stock are livestock. Horses and their products are livestock and farm products for purposes of financial transactions and collateral.
Raising horses and other equines is agricultural production and an agricultural pursuit. A horse breeding farm, horse training farm, horse boarding farm, or a farm combining those purposes is an agricultural operation.
Laws 1991, chapter 309, sections 4 to 16, may be cited as the Aquaculture Development Act.
The definitions in this section apply to Laws 1991, chapter 309, sections 2 to 16.
"Aquaculture" means the culture of private aquatic life for consumption or sale.
"Aquatic farm" means a facility used for the purpose of culturing private aquatic life in waters, including but not limited to artificial ponds, vats, tanks, raceways, other indoor or outdoor facilities that an aquatic farmer owns or where an aquatic farmer has exclusive control of, or private fish hatcheries licensed under section 97C.211 for the sole purpose of processing or cultivating aquatic life.
"Aquatic farmer" means an individual who practices aquaculture.
"Department" means the Department of Agriculture.
"Private aquatic life" means fish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, turtles, and any other aquatic animals cultured within an aquatic farm. Private aquatic life is the property of the aquatic farmer.
Aquaculture programs in the state must be coordinated through the commissioner of agriculture. The commissioner of agriculture shall direct the development of aquaculture in the state. Aquaculture research, projects, and demonstrations must be reported to the commissioner before state appropriations for the research, projects, and demonstrations are encumbered. The commissioner shall maintain a database of aquaculture research, demonstrations, and other related information pertaining to aquaculture in the state.
The commissioner may establish a Minnesota aquaculture development and aid program that may support applied research, demonstration, financing, marketing, promotion, broodstock development, and other services.
Aquaculture is an agricultural pursuit.
The commissioner shall act as permit or license coordinator for aquatic farmers and shall assist aquatic farmers to obtain licenses or permits.
By July 1, 1992, a state agency issuing multiple permits or licenses for aquaculture shall consolidate the permits or licenses required for every aquatic farm location. The Department of Natural Resources transportation permits are exempt from this requirement. State agencies shall adopt rules or issue commissioner's orders that establish permit and license requirements, approval timelines, and compliance standards.
Nothing in this section modifies any state agency's regulatory authority over aquaculture production.
A state agency that denies a license or permit to an aquatic farmer shall provide the aquatic farmer with a written notice specifying the reasons for refusal.
An aquatic farmer may appeal a state agency's denial of the license or permit in a contested case proceeding under chapter 14.
By July 1, 1992, the commissioner of natural resources shall adopt rules, in consultation with the commissioner of agriculture and the Aquaculture Advisory Committee, for the construction and operation of a quarantine facility for fish eggs presently requiring quarantine and disposition of fish from the facility. Fish in a quarantine station that are determined to be disease-free under the procedures developed by the commissioner of natural resources may be bought, sold, or transported.
The commissioner of natural resources shall establish rules, in consultation with the commissioner of agriculture and the Aquaculture Advisory Committee, for approving or rejecting importation of "exotic" or genetically altered aquatic species to protect the integrity of the natural ecosystem and provide aquatic farmers with information that may affect business decisions.
(a) The commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency, after consultation and cooperation with the commissioners of agriculture and natural resources, shall present proposed rules to the Pollution Control Agency board prescribing water quality permit requirements for aquaculture facilities by May 1, 1992. The rules must consider:
(1) best available proven technology, best management practices, and water treatment practices that prevent and minimize degradation of waters of the state considering economic factors, availability, technical feasibility, effectiveness, and environmental impacts;
(2) classes, types, sizes, and categories of aquaculture facilities;
(3) temporary reversible impacts versus long-term impacts on water quality;
(4) effects on drinking water supplies that cause adverse human health concerns; and
(5) aquaculture therapeutics, which shall be regulated by the Pollution Control Agency.
(b) Net pen aquaculture and other aquaculture facilities with similar effects must submit an annual report to the commissioner of the pollution control agency analyzing changes in water quality trends from previous years, documentation of best management practices, documentation of costs to restore the waters used for aquaculture to the trophic state existing before aquatic farming was initiated, and documentation of financial assurance in an amount adequate to pay for restoration costs. The trophic state, which is the productivity of the waters measured by total phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, algae abundance as chlorophyll-a, and secchi disk depth of light penetration, and the condition of the waters measured by raw drinking water parameters, shall be determined to the extent possible before aquatic farming is initiated. The financial assurance may be a trust fund, letter of credit, escrow account, surety bond, or other financial assurance payable to the commissioner for restoration of the waters if the permittee cannot or will not restore the waters after termination of aquatic farming operations or revocation of the permit.
(c) Information received as part of a permit application or as otherwise requested must be classified according to chapter 13. Information about processes, aquatic farming procedures, feed and therapeutic formulas and rates, and tests on aquatic farming products that have economic value is nonpublic data under chapter 13, if requested by the applicant or permittee.
(a) Aquatic farms are licensed to culture private aquatic life. Cultured aquatic life is not wildlife. Aquatic farms must be licensed and given classifications to prevent or minimize impacts on natural resources. The purpose of sections 17.4981 to 17.4997 is to:
(1) prevent public aquatic life from entering an aquatic farm;
(2) prevent release of nonindigenous or exotic species into public waters without approval of the commissioner;
(3) protect against release of disease pathogens to public waters;
(4) protect existing natural aquatic habitats and the wildlife dependent on them; and
(5) protect private aquatic life from unauthorized taking or harvest.
(b) Private aquatic life that is legally acquired and possessed is an article of interstate commerce and may be restricted only as necessary to protect state fish and water resources.
(c) The commissioner of natural resources shall establish license and other fees as provided in section 16A.1285, subdivision 2, that would make aquaculture licensing and enforcement self-sustaining. Notwithstanding section 16A.1283, the commissioner may, by written order published in the State Register, establish the fees required by this section. The fees are not subject to the rulemaking provisions of chapter 14, and section 14.386 does not apply. The commissioner shall develop best management practices for aquaculture to ensure the long-term sustainability of aquaculture and wetlands used for aquaculture, including, but not limited to, fish farming in man-made ponds.
"Approved laboratory methods" means methods described in the latest edition of the "Procedures for the Detection and Identification of Certain Fish Pathogens" published by the American Fisheries Society Fish Health Section known as the Fish Health Blue Book.
"Aquaculture therapeutics" means drugs, medications, and disease control chemicals that are approved for aquaculture use by the United States Food and Drug Administration or the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
"Aquarium facilities" means facilities that rear or hold private aquatic life for sale for aquarium or display purposes.
"Aquatic farm" means a licensed facility used for hatching, raising, rearing, and culturing private aquatic life in waters and preparing aquatic life for sale, including, but not limited to, ponds, vats, tanks, raceways, and other indoor or outdoor facilities that an aquatic farmer owns or waters of which an aquatic farmer has the use.
"Aquatic life" has the meaning given to "private aquatic life" in section 17.47, subdivision 7, and for purposes of commercial transactions, aquatic life is livestock.
"Certifiable diseases" include channel catfish virus, bacterial kidney disease, bacterial furunculosis, enteric redmouth disease, enteric septicemia of catfish, infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, infectious pancreatic necrosis virus, whirling disease, proliferative kidney disease, viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, epizootic epitheliotropic virus, ceratomyxosis, and any emergency disease.
"Commissioner" means the commissioner of natural resources.
"Containment facility" means a licensed facility for salmonids, catfish, or species on the viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) susceptible list published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, that complies with clauses (1), (3), and (4), or clauses (2), (3), and (4):
(1) disinfects its effluent to the standards in section 17.4991 before the effluent is discharged to public waters;
(2) does not discharge to public waters or to waters of the state directly connected to public waters;
(3) raises aquatic life that is prohibited from being released into the wild and must be kept in a facility approved by the commissioner unless processed for food consumption;
(4) contains aquatic life requiring a fish health inspection prior to transportation.
"Emergency enzootic disease area" means an enzootic disease area that harbors an emergency fish disease. Trout, salmon, or catfish species are from an emergency enzootic disease area only if the individual species in question can carry one or more of the emergency fish disease pathogens present.
"Emergency fish disease" means designated fish diseases not already present in this state that could impact populations of aquatic life if inadvertently released by infected aquatic life, including channel catfish virus, viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus, infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus, infectious pancreatic necrosis virus, whirling disease, ceratomyxosis, proliferative kidney disease, and epizootic epitheliotropic virus disease.
"Enzootic disease area" means an area with well-defined geographic boundaries which harbors one or more certifiable diseases pathogens.
"Fish collector" means an individual who has been certified under section 17.4989 to oversee the collection of fish samples from a facility or a water body for disease testing by a certified laboratory.
"Fish Health Blue Book" means the standardized set of procedures and guidelines established and published by the American Fisheries Society Fish Health Section for the detection and isolation of fish pathogens.
(a) "Fish health inspection" means an on-site, statistically based sampling, collection, and testing of fish in accordance with processes in the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases, published by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE) to test for causative pathogens. The samples for inspection must be collected by a fish health inspector or a fish collector in cooperation with the producer. Testing of samples must be done by an approved laboratory.
(b) The inspection for viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN), and infectious hematopoietic necrosis (IHN) in salmonids and for VHS in nonsalmonids must include at a minimum viral testing of ovarian fluids at the 95 percent confidence level of detecting two percent incidence of disease.
(c) The inspection for certifiable diseases for wild fish must follow the guidelines of the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases.
"Fish health inspector" means an individual certified as a fish health inspector or an aquatic animal health inspector by the American Fisheries Society or state, federal, or provincial resource management agency, except that a certification may not be made by an inspector who has a conflict of interest in connection with the outcome of the certification.
"Game fish" has the meaning given in section 97A.015, subdivision 25, except that green or orange spotted sunfish are not game fish for purposes of determining fish of significant public value.
"Intensive culture" means the rearing of fish at densities greater than can be supported in the natural environment.
"Licensed facility" means a licensed aquatic farm, including all licensed waters.
"Lot" means a group of fish of the same species and age that originated from the same discrete spawning population and that always have shared a common water supply, or various age groups of adult brood stock of the same species that have shared the same containers for one brood cycle.
"Minnows" has the meaning given in section 97A.015, subdivision 29, except the 12-inch restriction on sucker minnows does not apply.
"Nonindigenous species" means a species of fish or other aquatic life that is:
(1) not known to have been historically present in the state;
(2) not known to be naturally occurring in a particular part of the state; or
(3) listed by rule as a prohibited or regulated invasive species.
"Nonindigenous strain" means a species of fish or other aquatic life that:
(1) has an original source outside of this state and contiguous states;
(2) is an unnaturally occurring hybrid or genetically engineered species; or
(3) in areas north of marked State Highway 210, is a walleye, the original source of which is from south of marked State Highway 210 or from outside the state.
"Processing" means rendering a species of aquatic life for food, bait, or other purposes so that it is no longer alive.
"Public waters" has the meaning given in section 103G.005, subdivision 15.
"Quarantine facility" means a culture system that is enclosed in a building and is separated from other fish culture facilities where fish can be isolated and maintained while preventing their introduction and pathogen introduction into the environment.
"Standard facility" means a licensed facility that is not a quarantine or containment facility.
(a) The commissioner may sell aquatic life to licensed facilities at fair wholesale market value. Fair wholesale market value must be determined by the average market price charged in this state and contiguous states and provinces for similar quantities.
(b) The commissioner shall establish procedures to make aquatic life available to licensed facilities if state aquatic life would otherwise die or go to waste, such as in cases of winterkill lakes, waters where piscicides will be applied, and waters subject to extreme draw-down. The public must be given angling opportunities if public access is available.
(c) The commissioner shall attempt to provide opportunities to make brood stock available to licensed facilities to reduce reliance on out-of-state sources without causing adverse impacts to game fish populations.
(d) If the commissioner denies approval to obtain aquatic life outside the state, a written notice must be submitted to the applicant stating the reasons for denial, and the commissioner shall:
(1) designate approved sources if available to obtain the desired aquatic life; or
(2) sell the aquatic life from state hatcheries at fair wholesale market value if there is a surplus from state operations.
Licensed facilities may use all reasonable methods to operate and harvest aquatic life from licensed facilities, including available nets.
The discharge from an aquatic farm must comply with discharge permits required by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
(a) Notwithstanding other provisions of law, aquatic life lawfully acquired and possessed by a licensed facility is private aquatic life and property of the owner of the licensed facility.
(b) The state may not seize or otherwise confiscate private aquatic life without due process of law, except that private aquatic life in public waters may become property of the state if the waters are not part of a licensed facility. The commissioner shall notify the licensee that the aquatic life in a facility that is no longer licensed will become property of the state if the aquatic life is not removed. If the licensee does not respond in writing within 30 days after receiving the notice and make alternative arrangements, or does not remove the aquatic life by 60 ice-free days after receiving the notice, the private aquatic life becomes property of the state.
(c) Private aquatic life that is transferred to the state or released into public waters that are not part of a licensed facility is owned by the state and may be considered wildlife.
(a) If the public cannot legally access waters of the state that are part of a licensed aquatic farm except by permission of the licensee, the use of the waters by the public is subject to restriction by the licensee.
(b) Waters of the state may not be licensed for aquaculture use to more than one licensee.
A person may not take fish by angling from waters subject to subdivision 6 unless the person has written permission from the licensee and:
(1) has an invoice when in possession of fish; or
(2) takes fish under an angling license, subject to the limits and conditions in the game and fish laws.
A person may not knowingly damage, disturb, or interfere with legal aquatic farm operations.
(a) A person or entity may not operate an aquatic farm without first obtaining an aquatic farm license from the commissioner.
(b) Applications for an aquatic farm license must be made on forms provided by the commissioner.
(c) Licenses are valid for five years and are transferable upon notification to the commissioner.
(d) The commissioner shall issue an aquatic farm license on payment of the required license fee under section 17.4988.
(e) A license issued by the commissioner is not a determination of private property rights, but is only based on a determination that the licensee does not have a significant detrimental impact on the public resource.
(f) The commissioner shall not issue a new license for aquatic farm purposes on a natural water body that has been restored or subject to a protective easement or other interest in land that was at least partially paid for with state or federal money.
(g) Before a new aquatic farm license is issued for a natural water body, the applicant must notify all owners of property with direct access to the water body. The notification must include the language of this subdivision.
(a) An aquatic farm license must list:
(1) the specific waters of the state that may be used in connection with the licensed aquatic farm and the species approved for each licensed water; and
(2) whether aeration requiring a permit is approved.
Additional waters may not be used until they are approved by the commissioner.
(b) The right to use waters licensed for private fish hatchery or aquatic farm purposes may be transferred between licensees with prior approval by the commissioner if requirements for species to be raised are met. Waters that are continually connected by a permanent watercourse to other waters must not be approved for aquatic farm use, except that connected waters that are isolated from other waters may be licensed as a single water body. Waters that are intermittently connected or may become connected with other waters may be denied, or screening or other measures may be required to prevent passage of aquatic life. Listed waters may be changed on approval by the area fisheries supervisor or the commissioner.
(c) The commissioner shall conduct an inspection of waters to be licensed prior to approving or denying initial licensing of the waters. When artificial tanks, jars, or other containers are added to existing licensed facilities, an additional inspection is not required.
(d) Waters containing game fish of significant public value may be denied licensing unless the applicant can demonstrate exclusive riparian control.
(e) Waters containing game fish of significant public value may be denied licensing unless the game fish of significant public value are, at the commissioner's option, and taking into consideration the recommendation of the licensed applicant, sold to the licensee, or removed by the Department of Natural Resources or disposed of as provided in writing by the commissioner.
(f) Waters licensed under an aquatic farm license may be aerated during open water periods without a separate aeration permit.
(g) Carp and bullheads may be removed from licensed waters, and transported and disposed of by the licensee.
(a) An aquatic farm license must list the species of aquatic life appropriate for the classification of the waters. Listed species of aquatic life may be changed on written request to and approval by the area fisheries supervisor. Species of aquatic life regulated under chapter 97A, 97B, or 97C may not be cultured unless listed on the license.
(b) All waters licensed before July 1, 1992, under a private fish farm or fish hatchery license must be approved for species listed under current licenses if other conditions for licensing are met.
(c) If licensed waters are located within a 25-year floodplain and are not enclosed within a building, species of aquatic life may be licensed at the discretion of the commissioner.
(d) Licensed waters located outside of a 25-year floodplain or enclosed within a building may be licensed for any species, except that the commissioner may deny licensing for species not present in the state.
The commissioner shall issue a single license for aquatic farming, with the following information and endorsements:
(1) waters covered by the license;
(2) classification of each of the licensed waters;
(3) aeration endorsement for each licensed water where the licensee has exclusive control of riparian access or where the conditions for an aeration permit have been met; and
(4) endorsements requested by the licensee.
If the state uses waters of the state for aquatic farming, the state shall acquire legal access to the waters and make documentation of the access available to the public.
(a) The premises, property, vehicles, private aquatic life, and equipment where private aquatic farm operations are being conducted are subject to reasonable and necessary inspections at reasonable times by conservation officers. The reason for the inspection must be provided in writing. The owner, operator, or designee may be present when inspections are conducted.
(a) Licensees must keep complete, up-to-date, nonpublic records of the operation of the aquatic farm. The records must remain available for at least three years.
(b) The records must be in English and include the following information:
(1) for each species acquired, the number or pounds of fish or eggs acquired, names and addresses of the sources from which acquired, and the dates of receipt;
(2) for each species sold or disposed of, the number or pounds of fish sold or disposed of, the names and addresses of the purchasers or persons to whom the conveyances are made, and the dates of sale; and
(3) for fish sperm or viable eggs, the amount acquired or sold, the names and addresses of the sources from which acquired, the purchasers to whom conveyed, and the dates of purchase or sale.
(c) On or before March 1 of each year, the licensee shall submit a complete annual report on a form furnished by the commissioner, covering the number or pounds of all species sold or purchased in the preceding licensed year.
(d) An aquatic farmer shall maintain records for reasonable inspection by the commissioner. Information on aquatic life production, harvest, and sales is nonpublic information.
Except as provided in subdivision 3, a licensee may not import aquatic life into the state, transport aquatic life within the state, or stock waters of the state with aquatic life without first obtaining a bill of lading or transportation permit from the commissioner, with disease certification, if applicable.
(a) A state-issued bill of lading is required for:
(1) intrastate transportation of aquatic life other than salmonids, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, between licensed private fish hatcheries, aquatic farms, or aquarium facilities licensed for the species being transported if the aquatic life is being transported into a watershed where it is not currently present, if walleyes whose original source is south of marked State Highway 210 are being transported to a facility north of marked State Highway 210, or if the original source of the aquatic life is outside Minnesota and contiguous states; and
(2) stocking of waters other than public waters with aquatic life other than salmonids, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services.
(b) When aquatic life is transported under paragraph (a), a copy of the bill of lading must be submitted to the regional fisheries manager at least 72 hours before the transportation.
(c) For transportation and stocking of waters that are not public waters:
(1) a bill of lading must be submitted to the regional fisheries manager 72 hours before transporting fish for stocking;
(2) a bill of lading must be submitted to the regional fisheries manager within five days after stocking if the waters to be stocked are confirmed by telecopy or telephone prior to stocking by the regional fisheries office not to be public waters; or
(3) a completed bill of lading may be submitted to the regional fisheries office by telecopy prior to transporting fish for stocking. Confirmation that the waters to be stocked are not public waters may be made by returning the bill of lading by telecopy or in writing, in which cases additional copies need not be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources.
(d) Bill of lading forms may only be issued by the Department of Natural Resources in St. Paul, and new bill of lading forms may not be issued until all previously issued forms have been returned.
(a) A state-issued bill of lading or transportation permit is not required by an aquatic farm licensee for importation of animals not on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services; transportation of animals not on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services; or export for the following:
(1) minnows taken under an aquatic farm license in this state and transported intrastate;
(2) aquarium or ornamental fish including goldfish and tropical, subtropical, and saltwater species that cannot survive in the waters of the state, which may be imported or transported if accompanied by shipping documents;
(3) fish or fish eggs that have been processed for use as food, bait, or other purposes unrelated to fish propagation;
(4) live fish from a licensed aquatic farm, which may be transported directly to an outlet for processing or for other food purposes if accompanied by shipping documents;
(5) fish being exported if accompanied by shipping documents;
(6) sucker eggs, sucker fry, or fathead minnows transported intrastate for bait propagation or feeding of cultural aquatic life, except that if either species becomes listed on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, then a transportation permit is required;
(7) species of fish that are found within the state used in connection with public shows, exhibits, demonstrations, or fishing pools for periods not exceeding 14 days;
(8) fish being transported through the state if accompanied by shipping documents; or
(9) intrastate transportation of aquatic life between or within licensed private fish hatcheries, aquatic farms, or aquarium facilities licensed for the species being transported, except where required in subdivision 2 and except that salmonids, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, may only be transferred or transported intrastate without a transportation permit if they had no record of bacterial kidney disease or viral hemorrhagic septicemia at the time they were imported into the state and if they have had a fish health inspection within the preceding year that has shown no certifiable diseases to be present.
Aquatic life being transferred between licensed private fish hatcheries, aquatic farms, or aquarium facilities must be accompanied by shipping documents and salmonids, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, being transferred or transported intrastate without a transportation permit must be accompanied by a copy of their most recent fish health inspection.
(b) Shipping documents required under paragraph (a) must show the place of origin, owner or consignee, destination, number, and species.
A transportation permit is required for all importation, transportation, or stocking of private aquatic life not covered by subdivision 2 or exempted in subdivision 3. A transportation permit may be used for multiple shipments within the 30-day term for the permit if the source and the destination remains the same. Transportation permits, which may authorize importation or stocking of public waters, may be issued through Department of Natural Resources regional offices or the St. Paul office, and must be obtained prior to shipment.
An application for a transportation permit must be made on forms provided by the commissioner. An incomplete application must be rejected. An application for a transportation permit for salmonids, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, their eggs, or sperm must be accompanied by certification that the source of the eggs or sperm are free of certifiable diseases, except that eggs with enteric redmouth, whirling disease, or furunculosis may be imported, transported, or stocked following treatment approved by the commissioner, and fish with bacterial kidney disease or viral hemorrhagic septicemia may be imported, transported, or stocked into areas where the disease has been identified as being present. A copy of the transportation permit showing the date of certification inspection must accompany the shipment of fish while in transit and must be available for inspection by the commissioner. By 14 days after a completed application is received, the commissioner must approve or deny the importation permits as provided in this section.
(a) A vehicle used by a licensee for transporting aquatic life must be identified with the licensee's name and town of residence as it appears on the license and the license number.
(b) A vehicle used by a licensee must have identification displayed so that it is readily visible from either side of the vehicle in letters and numbers not less than 2-1/2 inches high and with a three-eighths inch wide stroke. Identification may be permanently affixed to vehicles or displayed on removable plates or placards placed on opposite doors of the vehicle or on the tanks carried on the vehicle.
(c) An application to license a vehicle for minnow transport or export or for use as a fish vendor that is received by the commissioner is a temporary license until it is approved or denied.
A person may not import fish into or stock fish in the state without first obtaining a transportation permit with a disease certification, as prescribed under section 17.4985, subdivision 5, when required or a bill of lading from the commissioner, unless the person is exempted.
(a) The commissioner shall issue transportation permits to import:
(1) indigenous and naturalized species except trout, salmon, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, and sperm from any source to a standard facility;
(2) trout, salmon, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, from a nonemergency enzootic disease area to a containment facility if the fish are certified within the previous year to be free of certifiable diseases, except that eggs with enteric redmouth, whirling disease, or furunculosis may be imported following treatment approved by the commissioner, and fish with bacterial kidney disease or viral hemorrhagic septicemia may be imported into areas where the disease has been identified as being present; and
(3) trout, salmon, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, from a facility in a nonemergency enzootic disease area with a disease-free history of three years or more to a standard facility, except that eggs with enteric redmouth, whirling disease, or furunculosis may be imported following treatment approved by the commissioner, and fish with bacterial kidney disease or viral hemorrhagic septicemia may be imported into areas where the disease has been identified as being present.
(b) If a source facility in a nonemergency enzootic disease area cannot demonstrate a history free from disease, aquatic life may only be imported into a quarantine facility.
Except as otherwise provided and except that eggs with enteric redmouth, whirling disease, or furunculosis may be imported following treatment approved by the commissioner, and fish with bacterial kidney disease may be imported into areas where the disease has been previously introduced, fish may be imported from emergency enzootic disease areas only as fertilized eggs under the following conditions:
(1) to be imported into a standard facility, fertilized eggs must have a disease-free history for at least five years;
(2) to be imported into a containment facility, fertilized eggs must have a disease-free history for at least three years; or
(3) to be imported into a quarantine facility, fertilized eggs may have a disease-free history of less than three years.
Disease-free histories required under this section must include the results of a fish health inspection. When disease-free histories of more than one year are required for importing salmonids, catfish, or species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, the disease history must be of consecutive years that include the year previous to, or the year of, the transportation request.
(a) A person may not release private aquatic life into public waters that are not licensed as part of an aquatic farm without first obtaining a transportation permit from the commissioner. The commissioner may:
(1) deny issuance of a permit if releasing the private aquatic life is not consistent with the management plan for the public waters; and
(2) approve the import, transport, and stocking of fish with bacterial kidney disease or viral hemorrhagic septicemia into areas or waters where either disease has been identified as being present.
(b) The commissioner shall make management plans available to the public.
(c) If a permit is denied, the commissioner must provide reasons for the denial in writing.
A permit or license must be issued by the commissioner if the requirements of law are met and the license and permit fees specified in this section are paid.
(a) The annual fee for an aquatic farming license is $210 for the base license. The commissioner must establish an additional fee based on the acreage of the operation.
(b) The aquatic farming license may contain endorsements for the rights and privileges of the following licenses under the game and fish laws. The endorsement must be made upon payment of the license fee prescribed in section 97A.475 for the following licenses:
(1) minnow dealer license;
(2) minnow retailer license for sale of minnows as bait;
(3) minnow exporting license;
(4) aquatic farm vehicle endorsement, which includes a minnow dealer vehicle license, a minnow retailer vehicle license, an exporting minnow vehicle license, and a fish vendor license;
(5) sucker egg taking license; and
(6) game fish packers license.
Notwithstanding section 16A.1283, the commissioner may, by written order published in the State Register, establish fees for the services listed in clauses (1) to (3) and the additional fee required under subdivision 2, paragraph (a). The fees must be set in an amount that does not recover significantly more or less than the cost of providing the service. The fees are not subject to the rulemaking provisions of chapter 14 and section 14.386 does not apply. The services covered under this provision include:
(1) initial inspection of each water to be licensed;
(2) fish health inspection and certification, including initial tissue sample collection, basic fish health assessment, viral pathogen testing, and bacteriological testing; and
(3) initial inspection for containment and quarantine facility inspections.
(a) A person operating a commercial aquarium facility must have a commercial aquarium facility license issued by the commissioner if the facility contains species of aquatic life that are for sale and that are present in waters of the state. The commissioner may require an aquarium facility license for aquarium facilities importing or holding species of aquatic life that are for sale and that are not present in Minnesota if those species can survive in waters of the state. The fee for an aquarium facility license is $90.
(b) Game fish transferred by an aquarium facility must be accompanied by a receipt containing the information required on a shipping document by section 17.4985, subdivision 3, paragraph (b).
Fish collector training may be offered by any organization or agency that has had its class and practicum syllabus approved by the commissioner. The class and practicum must include the following components:
(1) accurate identification of licensed water bodies listed according to section 17.4984 and ensuring that collection is taking place at the correct site;
(2) identification of fish internal organs;
(3) fish dissection and sample preparation as identified by the Department of Natural Resources based on specific testing requirements or as outlined in the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases, published by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE);
(4) recording and reporting data;
(5) sample preparation and shipping;
(6) a field collection site test to demonstrate mastery of the necessary skills, overseen by a certified fish health inspector; and
(7) a certificate of successful completion signed by a certified fish health inspector on a form provided by the commissioner.
Fish collector certification is valid for five years and is not transferable. A person may renew certification only by successfully completing certification training. Certification shall be revoked if the certified person is convicted of violating any of the statutes or rules governing testing for aquatic species diseases. Certification may be suspended during an investigation associated with misconduct or violations of fish health testing and collection. The commissioner shall notify the person that certification is being revoked or suspended.
A fish collector may not oversee the collection of fish from a facility or a water body when the collector has a conflict of interest in connection with the outcome of the testing.
(a) The licensee may apply to the commissioner for designation of all or a portion of a facility as a standard, containment, or quarantine facility on forms prescribed by the commissioner as part of the license application or separately.
(b) By 15 business days after an application is submitted, the commissioner must notify the applicant if there are any deficiencies in the application. By 30 business days after a complete application is submitted, the commissioner shall approve or deny the designation requested. A denial must include an assessment of the actual risk to wildlife populations at the particular site. A containment designation must be approved if the facility meets the disinfection requirements of subdivision 2 and complies with section 17.4982, subdivision 8.
(a) Containment facilities must disinfect effluent prior to discharge to public waters. The effluent required to be disinfected includes water used by a containment facility in the production of the aquatic life of concern, waste or mortalities from the aquatic life of concern, and live forage or commercial feed discarded from the containment facility. Runoff from precipitation and excess water from natural springs, wells, or other sources that is not used in the production of aquatic life is not effluent to be disinfected.
(b) The disinfection must minimize the potential release of disease pathogens to wildlife susceptible to the pathogens based on a reasonable risk assessment. Disinfection treatment processes may include chlorination or other processes. If chlorine disinfection is utilized, a measurable residual level of 1.0 parts per million of active chlorine in the effluent must be maintained for one hour of retention time. The effluent must be sufficiently dechlorinated to prevent toxic adverse impacts to wildlife after discharge to public waters.
(c) A disinfection treatment process must ensure uninterrupted effluent treatment in the event of electrical power failure, a primary system failure, or other similar events that would cause treatment interruptions.
(d) The effluent disinfection process must be sited, designed, and operated in a manner that allows inspection by the commissioner at all times to determine whether adequate effluent disinfection is maintained.
(e) The commissioner may prescribe reasonable documentation of daily monitoring of treatment system performance to be included in the licensee's annual report. The records must be available for daily inspection by the commissioner during normal business hours and maintained for three years.
(a) An aquatic farm propagating salmonids, catfish, or species on the viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) susceptible list published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, and having an effluent discharge from the aquatic farm into public waters must have a fish health inspection conducted at least once every 12 months by a certified fish health inspector. Testing must be conducted according to laboratory methods of the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases, published by the International Office of Epizootics (OIE).
(b) An aquatic farm propagating any species on the VHS susceptible list and having an effluent discharge from the aquatic farm into public waters must test for VHS virus using the guidelines of the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases. The commissioner may, by written order published in the State Register, prescribe alternative testing time periods and methods from those prescribed in the Fish Health Blue Book or the OIE Diagnostic Manual if the commissioner determines that biosecurity measures will not be compromised. These alternatives are not subject to the rulemaking provisions of chapter 14 and section 14.386 does not apply. The commissioner must provide reasonable notice to affected parties of any changes in testing requirements.
(c) Results of fish health inspections must be provided to the commissioner for all fish that remain in the state. All data used to prepare and issue a fish health certificate must be maintained for three years by the issuing fish health inspector, approved laboratory, or accredited veterinarian.
(d) A health inspection fee must be charged based on each lot of fish sampled. The fee by check or money order payable to the Department of Natural Resources must be prepaid or paid at the time a bill or notice is received from the commissioner that the inspection and processing of samples is completed.
(e) Upon receipt of payment and completion of inspection, the commissioner shall notify the operator and issue a fish health certificate. The certification must be made according to the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases by a person certified as a fish health inspector.
(f) All aquatic life in transit or held at transfer stations within the state may be inspected by the commissioner. This inspection may include the collection of stock for purposes of pathological analysis. Sample size necessary for analysis will follow guidelines listed in the Fish Health Blue Book or the Diagnostic Manual for Aquatic Animal Diseases.
(g) Salmonids, catfish, or species on the VHS susceptible list must have a fish health inspection before being transported from a containment facility, unless the fish are being transported directly to an outlet for processing or other food purposes or unless the commissioner determines that an inspection is not needed. A fish health inspection conducted for this purpose need only be done on the lot or lots of fish that will be transported. The commissioner must conduct a fish health inspection requested for this purpose within five working days of receiving written notice. Salmonids and catfish may be immediately transported from a containment facility to another containment facility once a sample has been obtained for a health inspection or once the five-day notice period has expired.
If emergency diseases exist, the commissioner may order the aquatic life in the facility to be impounded, confiscated, sold, or destroyed and the facility disinfected. The commissioner shall make every effort to allow disposed aquatic life to be sold for market if there is no imminent danger of a significant adverse impact on natural fish populations or of escape of the pathogen to public waters.
(a) Aquaculture therapeutics must be registered and labeled in accordance with rules adopted by the commissioner of agriculture relating to drugs and feed additives.
(b) The Department of Agriculture may not require registration of those aquaculture therapeutics designated as low regulatory priority by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
Game fish sperm, viable game fish eggs, or live game fish may not be taken from public waters for aquaculture purposes, but may be purchased from the state or acquired from aquatic farms.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), species on the official list of viral hemorrhagic septicemia susceptible species published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services, must be free of viral hemorrhagic septicemia and species of the family salmonidae or ictaluridae, except bullheads, must be free of certifiable diseases if sold for stocking or transfer to another aquatic farm.
(b) The following exceptions apply to paragraph (a):
(1) eggs with enteric redmouth, whirling disease, or furunculosis may be transferred between licensed facilities or stocked following treatment approved by the commissioner;
(2) fish with bacterial kidney disease or viral hemorrhagic septicemia may be transferred between licensed facilities or stocked in areas where the disease has been identified as being present; and
(3) the commissioner may allow transfer between licensed facilities or stocking of fish with enteric redmouth or furunculosis when the commissioner determines that doing so would pose no threat to the state's aquatic resources.
(a) Game fish brood stock may be sold to private fish hatcheries or aquatic farms by the state at fair wholesale market value. For brood stock development, up to 20 pair of adults of each species requested may be provided to a licensee once every three years, if available, by the state through normal operations.
(b) If brood stock is not available by the June 1 following the request under paragraph (a) and a permit to take brood stock by angling is requested by the licensee, within 30 days of the request, the commissioner may issue a permit to the licensee to take, by angling, up to 20 pairs of each species requested. Game and fish laws and rules relating to daily limits, seasons, and methods apply to the taking of fish by angling pursuant to a permit issued under this paragraph.
The commissioner may offer for sale or barter as eggs or fry from the department's annual game fish egg harvest.
Licensees may purchase game fish eggs or fry from the state at a rate based on the capacity of their facility to hatch and rear fish. Licensees may purchase walleye at a rate of no more than one-half quart of eggs or 5,000 fry for each acre or fraction of licensed surface water. This limitation may be waived if an aquatic farm is an intensive culture facility. The allowable purchase of trout or salmon eggs must be based on the capacity of rearing tanks and flow of water through the aquatic farm facility.
Walleyes from outside of the area of the state north of marked State Highway 210 may not be stocked in waters of the state north of marked State Highway 210 without approval by the commissioner.
(a) Under an aquatic farm license, a licensee may take minnow sperm, minnow eggs, and live minnows for aquatic farm purposes from public waters that have been tested for viral hemorrhagic septicemia when the testing indicates the disease is not present.
(b) A licensee may take sucker eggs and sperm only in approved waters with a sucker egg license endorsement as provided by section 17.4994.
Sucker eggs may be taken from public waters with a sucker egg license endorsement for the fee prescribed in section 97A.475, subdivision 29. Taking sucker eggs from public waters is subject to chapter 97C and may be supervised by the commissioner. The commissioner may limit the amount of sucker eggs that a person with a sucker egg license endorsement may take based on the number of sucker eggs taken historically by the licensee, new requests for eggs, and the condition of the spawning runs at those historical streams and rivers that have produced previous annual quotas.
Until the commissioner reaches an agreement with the White Earth Indian Reservation regarding the acquisition and sale of aquatic life from public waters, an aquatic farm licensee may acquire and transport rough fish, as defined in section 97A.015, subdivision 43, and yellow perch lawfully acquired and possessed by a tribal member for sale under tribal laws and regulations on the White Earth Reservation. Transportation of yellow perch off the reservation must be accompanied by documentation showing the source and number of the yellow perch.
The commissioner may adopt rules that are consistent with sections 17.4981 to 17.4996. The commissioner must notify the Minnesota Aquaculture Commission and the commissioner of agriculture prior to publication of the proposed rules.
Unless a different penalty is prescribed, a violation of a provision of sections 17.4981 to 17.4997 or a rule of the commissioner governing the operation of an aquatic farm, private fish hatchery, or quarantine facility is a misdemeanor.
A first and second violation, within a three-year period, of sections 17.4981 to 17.4997 or a rule of the commissioner governing the operation of an aquatic farm, private fish hatchery, or quarantine facility is a petty misdemeanor if it does not involve intentionally falsifying records and does not put public waters or other fish hatchery facilities at risk from harmful nonindigenous species, nonindigenous strains, or emergency fish diseases.
The license of a person convicted of a violation of sections 17.4981 to 17.4997 or a rule of the commissioner governing the operation of an aquatic farm, private fish hatchery, or quarantine facility is void for a period of one year after the conviction if the person is convicted of two or more misdemeanors within a three-year period. If the commissioner determines that the public welfare will not be injured, the commissioner may reinstate a license voided under this subdivision.
Fish manure from aquatic farm operations:
(1) is subject to the same requirements under state law and rules as other animal manures; and
(2) if managed in a pond system, may be applied as a manipulated manure under chapter 18C if certified by the commissioner.
The state must explore alternative uses for agricultural products to enable the state's agricultural economy to reach its full potential. The state must promote and encourage cooperative efforts between public and private interests in conducting basic research and disseminating the results on agricultural commodity utilization.
It is hereby declared to be in the interest of the public welfare that Minnesota farmers who produce agricultural commodities for domestic and foreign markets shall be permitted to act separately, or jointly in cooperation with handlers, dealers and processors of such products, with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the University of Minnesota, and any other interested agencies, to promote and stimulate the use, sale and consumption of such commodities and to improve methods of production, processing and marketing thereof; it is further declared that provision for the establishment of Minnesota agricultural commodity research and promotion councils is deemed an appropriate means to accomplish such objectives. Sections 17.51 to 17.69 shall not be construed to abrogate or limit in any way the rights, powers, duties and functions of the commissioner of agriculture or any other agency of the state, but shall be supplementary thereto, and in aid and cooperation therewith.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), "agricultural commodity" means any agricultural product, including, without limitation, animals and animal products, grown, raised, produced, or fed within Minnesota for use as food, feed, seed, or any industrial or chemurgic purpose.
(b) For wheat, barley, and cultivated wild rice, "agricultural commodity" means wheat, barley, and cultivated wild rice including, without limitation, wheat, barley, and cultivated wild rice grown or produced within or outside Minnesota, for use as food, feed, seed, or any industrial or chemurgic purpose.
"Commercial channels" means the processes of sale of any agricultural commodity to any commercial buyer, dealer, processor, cooperative or to any person, public or private, who resells such commodity or any product produced from such commodity for slaughter, storage, processing or distribution.
"Cooperative" means a nonprofit association legally constituted under the laws of Minnesota or of another state of producers who have gathered together for purposes of bargaining for a price for marketing their commodity. This includes all cooperatives domiciled inside or outside of the state which buy commodities from Minnesota producers.
"First handler" means a person, whether an owner, agent or other person, who initially places a commodity into commercial channels, or who is engaged in the processing of the commodity into food for human consumption in any form, except for potato flour or potato starch.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), "first purchaser" means any person that buys agricultural commodities for movement into commercial channels from the producer; or any lienholder, secured party or pledgee, public or private, or assignee of said lienholder, secured party or pledgee, who gains title to the agricultural commodity from the producer as the result of exercising any legal rights by the lienholder, secured party, pledgee, or assignee thereof, regardless of when the lien, security interest or pledge was created and regardless of whether the first purchaser is domiciled within the state or without. "First purchaser" does not mean the Commodity Credit Corporation when a commodity is used as collateral for a federal nonrecourse loan unless the commissioner determines otherwise.
(b) For wheat, barley, and cultivated wild rice, "first purchaser" means a person who buys, receives delivery of, or provides storage for the agricultural commodity from a producer for movement into commercial channels; or a lienholder, secured party, or pledgee, who gains title to the agricultural commodity from the producers as the result of exercising any legal rights by the lienholder, secured party, pledgee, or assignee, regardless of when the lien, security interest, or pledge was created and regardless of whether or not the first purchaser is domiciled in the state. "First purchaser" does not mean the Commodity Credit Corporation when the wheat, barley, or cultivated wild rice is used as collateral for a federal nonrecourse loan unless the commissioner determines otherwise.
"Marketing year" means a one-year period from July 1 through June 30, or any other one-year period determined by the promotion order of a specific council.
"Participating producer" means a producer of an agricultural commodity for which a promotional order has been issued and exists, who produces that commodity in the organized area and meets the minimal requirements established by the council to qualify as a producer.
"Private processor" means a privately owned commodity processor legally constituted under the laws of Minnesota for the purpose of buying or marketing the commodity and commodity products, whether the processor is domiciled within the state or without.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), "producer" means any person who owns or operates an agricultural producing or growing facility for an agricultural commodity and shares in the profits and risk of loss from such operation, and who grows, raises, feeds or produces the agricultural commodity in Minnesota during the current or preceding marketing year.
(b) For wheat, barley, and cultivated wild rice, "producer" means in addition to the meaning in paragraph (a) and for the purpose of the payment or the refund of the checkoff fee paid pursuant to sections 17.51 to 17.69 only, a person who delivers into, stores within, or makes the first sale of the agricultural commodity in Minnesota.
"Producer-processor" means a producer who processes and markets the producer's own product. For the purpose of collecting the checkoff fee, a producer-processor is the first purchaser.
"Promotional order" means an order issued by the commissioner, with the advice and consent of a council and after a referendum pursuant to this chapter, which establishes a program for promotion, advertising, production, market research, and market development of the growing, processing, distributing, sale or handling of an agricultural commodity and provides for the collection of checkoff fees.
"Qualified voter" means a producer who would be subject to the payment of fees to finance the activities described in sections 17.51 to 17.69 and who shares directly in the profits and risk of loss from the agricultural operation which produces or grows the commodity.
"Retailer" means a person who sells directly to the consumer in small quantities or broken lots.
"Sale" means any passing of title from the producer to the first purchaser. Sale includes any pledge, security interest or lien after harvest.
A commodity research and promotion council may be created for the producers of each agricultural commodity by filing with the commissioner a petition requesting that the producers of such commodity be subjected to the provisions of sections 17.51 to 17.69. The petition must be signed by 1,000 producers or 15 percent of the producers proposed to be covered by the promotion order, whichever is less. At least two producers shall certify under oath that the petition has been signed only by producers of the commodity involved.
Upon petition of the required number of producers the commissioner shall, after consultation with the various producer or commodity organizations of the particular commodity petitioning for a referendum, determine the size of the council and distribution of the council membership.
Within 30 days after the filing of the petition by the required number of producers of an agricultural commodity the commissioner shall appoint a nominating committee of at least five producers of that commodity who shall, within 60 days from the filing of the petition, nominate at least two producer candidates for each council position and certify the names of such nominees to the commissioner. Nominees shall be selected with a view to establishing a fair representation of all producers of the particular commodity throughout the area to be organized, which shall comprise the entire state unless the commissioner determines that at least 95 percent of the production of the commodity is in a lesser area, in which event the commissioner shall define the area following county lines. Whenever possible, the areas represented by council members shall correspond to state crop reporting districts as defined by the Minnesota crop and livestock reporting service.
Upon receipt of the nominations the commissioner shall promptly arrange an election to be held at places designated by the commissioner reasonably convenient to all producers in the organized area and provide notice of the election to all of the media having a general circulation in the organized area. Ballots setting forth the names of the nominated candidates and providing for write-in candidates shall be made available at all polling places. Only producers of the agricultural commodity involved shall be qualified to vote. General polling procedures shall be established by the commissioner by rule pursuant to chapter 14 to avoid voting by other than qualified producers. An impartial committee appointed by the commissioner shall tabulate the votes, and the candidates receiving the most votes shall be declared elected to the first council.
After the first council for a commodity is elected, an election shall be held annually to elect members of the council. The election shall be held in the same manner as prescribed for the first council election except that the manner of choosing nominating committee members, the time of nominations and the time and place of elections shall be fixed by the commissioner. Mail balloting may be permitted by the commissioner.
At the first meeting of the first council for each commodity the commissioner shall determine by lot one-third of the council members whose terms shall expire June 30 in the calendar year following the year of the first election, one-third of the council members whose terms shall expire June 30 in the second calendar year and the remaining council members whose terms shall expire June 30 in the third calendar year. In the event the commissioner has designated specific areas for representation on the council, the terms of council members in any one area shall not expire in the same year. All council members elected in succeeding elections shall serve three-year terms and until their successors are elected and qualified. All terms shall expire on June 30 of the last year of the term unless another date is established by the commissioner for specific councils. In the event a council member ceases to have any of the qualifications herein established, that office shall be deemed vacant. An interim vacancy on the council shall be filled by the council for the remainder of the term vacated. The successor so appointed shall be a commodity producer residing in the same crop reporting district as the former member.
(a) The commissioner shall serve as a member of each council without vote. Each council shall elect from its own membership a chair, a vice-chair, a secretary, and other officers the council deems appropriate. An executive committee of no more than five members including the officers may also be elected. Except as provided in paragraph (b), terms of the officers shall expire on June 30 of each year; however, they may serve until their successors have been elected but not beyond July 15.
(b) If the commissioner establishes an alternative expiration date for a specific council under subdivision 5 or 13, council members may serve on the council until their successors have been elected but not beyond 15 days after the expiration date.
Subject to the requirements of sections 17.51 to 17.69, a council shall meet at times and places as it may determine or upon call of the chair or of any three members or one-third of the council, whichever is greater. A majority of the voting members of a council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of all business in carrying out the duties of the council.
Any council established pursuant to any act on or before July 1, 1982 may maintain the number and regional distribution of council members in effect at that time and council members elected under the provisions of any act in effect prior to July 1, 1982 may serve out their terms according to those provisions. Any promotional order in effect prior to July 1, 1982 shall remain in effect until the promotional order would terminate under the terms of the promotional order itself, or under the provisions of the legislation authorizing that promotional order, or until the promotional order is terminated pursuant to section 17.64, whichever occurs first. No referendum need be held by the commissioner to establish any promotion order in effect prior to July 1, 1982. No referendum need be held by the commissioner to bring any promotion order into early compliance with Laws 1982, chapter 582, sections 1 to 11 when the proposed changes in the promotion order are requested by the council members and approved by the commissioner.
For the purpose of the administration of sections 17.51 to 17.69 as they pertain to a Minnesota Area Potato Research and Promotion Council established pursuant to Laws 1967, chapter 417, as amended, the state is divided into two areas. Area number one includes the counties of Kittson, Marshall, Polk, Pennington, Red Lake, Norman, Mahnomen, Clay, Wilkin, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Beltrami, Clearwater, and Becker. Area number two includes the rest of the counties of the state. Sections 17.51 to 17.69 shall apply to any of the above areas of the state where the commissioner has determined that the area was organized prior to July 1, 1982, pursuant to section 30.464, subdivision 3, as amended through June 30, 1982.
For the purposes of sections 17.51 to 17.69, any area potato council established pursuant to section 30.465, prior to July 1, 1982 shall maintain the number and distribution of council members in effect at that time. Council members elected or appointed under the provisions of section 30.465 may serve out their terms. For the purposes of sections 17.51 to 17.69, the provisions of sections 30.462, 30.463, 30.467, 30.469 and 30.472 as amended through June 30, 1982, shall be considered to be the promotional order for an area potato council, and shall remain in effect as a promotional order until terminated or modified by referendum.
Notwithstanding subdivisions 3, 4, and 5, any area potato council which continues in existence pursuant to subdivision 10 shall include one voting member who represents potato wash plants. This member shall be appointed by the governor for a four-year term coterminous with that of the governor.
For the purpose of the administration of sections 17.51 to 17.69 as they pertain to the Dairy Research and Promotion Council established pursuant to Laws 1969, chapter 851, as amended, the vote in the name of a cooperative association of producers may be deemed the vote of all members of that cooperative association. The commissioner shall schedule and specify procedures for bloc voting by a cooperative. A ballot prepared by the council and the commissioner shall be sent by each cooperative to all member and nonmember producers with a return envelope addressed to the commissioner. The ballot shall indicate that the cooperative association intends to vote in favor of or in opposition to the question. In the case of members the ballot shall indicate the expiration date of the ballot and state that if the ballot is not returned by that date the ballot shall be considered to be in favor of the vote of the association. The cooperative shall return the completed bloc vote ballot to the commissioner. A cooperative association shall not be required to bloc vote its producers but in that event it shall inform each producer of its decision and provide each producer with an individual referendum ballot with a return envelope addressed to the commissioner.
Each private processor of dairy products and each cooperative shall file with the commissioner a list of producers who market the bulk of their production with that private processor or cooperative. The polling procedures established by the commissioner pursuant to subdivision 4 shall ensure that dairy producers marketing the bulk of their production with a private processor have the option to vote in any referendum held pursuant to Laws 1982, chapter 586, sections 1 to 11.
Notwithstanding subdivision 5, the term of office of members of any council established for the producers of cows' milk or products derived from cows' milk shall be as provided in this subdivision. The term of office shall be two years, with the terms of half the council members expiring in odd-numbered years, and the terms of the remaining council members expiring in even-numbered years. All terms expire on June 30 of the last year of the term unless another date is established by the commissioner for the council.
1969 c 1021 s 4; 1973 c 237 s 1; 1973 c 242 s 1; 1976 c 149 s 10,62 subd 2; 1982 c 424 s 130; 1982 c 582 s 2; 1986 c 318 s 1; 1986 c 444; 1990 c 417 s 1; 1997 c 187 art 3 s 4; 2000 c 285 s 1,2; 2014 c 181 s 3
Within 15 days after certification by the commissioner of its election the first council for producers of a particular commodity shall meet and formulate a promotional order establishing a program for development, promotion, advertising, research, distribution and the expansion of the sale, use and consumption of the commodity it represents and establishing a checkoff fee to be paid by producers to finance the proposed activities.
The commissioner, after consultation with the council, shall hold public hearings on the proposed promotional order in areas and at times affording reasonable opportunities for producers to attend. After such hearings and after consultation with the council, the commissioner shall determine whether or not the promotional order shall be amended, modified or supplemented. If changes or additions of substance are made, commissioner shall hold public hearings on the amended or supplemented promotional order.
Following the hearings, the commissioner shall conduct a referendum on the proposed final promotional order. At least ten days' notice of the time and places of such referendum shall be published in a legal newspaper of general circulation in each county affected. Notice shall also be given to other media in each county affected. A complete copy of the promotional order shall be given to each county extension office in any county involved in the referendum to afford all producers of the commodity access to complete information about the promotional order and the referendum.
The promotional order shall become effective if approved by a majority of those voting.
If a referendum is conducted and a proposed promotional order is not approved, the commissioner shall not conduct another referendum on any promotional order for the same commodity until one year has elapsed, except for the Minnesota Canola Council, for which six months must have elapsed.
Each council shall prepare and submit to the commissioner on a date the commissioner determines an estimated budget for the operation of the promotional order.
Each council shall prepare an annual report on the programs pursuant to its promotional order for the previous operating year. The report shall be mailed to each county extension office in any county involved in the promotional order.
The promotion order shall provide a procedure for the collection of the checkoff fee by each council to finance promotional orders and for the collection of information and data which are necessary for the proper administration of orders.
Each council shall have the right to investigate and prosecute in the name of the state of Minnesota any action or suit to enforce the collection or insure payment of the checkoff fees authorized by the provisions of sections 17.51 to 17.69, to sue and be sued in the name of the council to hire attorneys as necessary and to do all other things necessary to the administration and implementation of sections 17.51 to 17.69.
Each council shall make available an annual financial statement of the council to any producer upon request.
A council, with the approval of the commissioner, may contract and cooperate with any person, firm, corporation or association, or with any local, state, federal or international agency or institution, for market development, education, publicity, promotion, research, transportation and advertising within the purposes of sections 17.51 to 17.69.
The council, with the approval of the commissioner, shall appoint, employ, provide necessary bond, discharge, fix compensation for and prescribe the duties of the first chief administrative officer of any council established after July 1, 1982. The council, after consultation with the commissioner, shall appoint, employ, provide necessary bond, discharge, fix compensation for and provide duties of subsequent chief administrative officers. A council may employ other personnel as it deems necessary.
In administering sections 17.51 to 17.69, the commissioner shall have such other powers as may be conferred by law not inconsistent with the provisions of sections 17.51 to 17.69. The commissioner is authorized to cooperate with any appropriate agency of any state for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of sections 17.51 to 17.69, and in securing uniformity of administration and enforcement.
The organization, conduct of elections, referenda, and meetings of a council and the administration of a promotional order for any commodity shall be governed by rules promulgated by the commissioner pursuant to chapter 14.
Each year the commissioner shall conduct a fiscal audit, and at least every three years the commissioner shall conduct a compliance audit of each council. A compliance audit is an audit to determine that a council has complied with the terms of sections 17.51 to 17.69, with all other applicable federal or state laws, and with the terms of any promotional orders established.
For the purpose of providing funds to defray the necessary expenses incurred by the commissioner and the council in formulating, submitting to referendum, issuing, administering and enforcing a promotional order, the promotional order shall provide for checkoff fees in amounts sufficient to defray such expenses, and shall indicate the maximum checkoff rate which shall not exceed one percent of the market value of the year's production of participating producers. Any increase in the maximum checkoff provided for in the promotional order must be within the limit herein prescribed and must be approved by the majority of voting participating producers in a referendum held for that purpose after reasonable notice of such proposed increase.
(a) Notwithstanding subdivision 1, the Minnesota dairy research and promotion order, or any provision to the contrary in this chapter or rules adopted under this chapter, the checkoff rate applicable to the Dairy Research and Promotion Council must be equal to the maximum credit allowed under the Dairy Promotion and Research Order, adopted under the Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983, United States Code, title 7, sections 4501 to 4538, for producers participating in a qualified state or regional dairy product promotion or nutrition education program. The checkoff rate provided in this subdivision is effective and must be automatically adjusted without amendment to the Minnesota dairy research and promotion order.
(b) Subdivision 1 applies for the establishment of the checkoff rate applicable to the Dairy Research and Promotion Council if:
(1) the Dairy Production Stabilization Act of 1983 is repealed;
(2) the Dairy Promotion and Research Order is suspended or terminated, in which case subdivision 1 applies only during the period of suspension or termination; or
(3) the federal credit for participation in a qualified state or regional dairy product or nutrition education program is eliminated.
The commissioner shall establish the procedure for the timely payment of the checkoff fee by the producer to the council. The procedure shall be clearly outlined in the proposed promotional order. The procedure must be fair, reasonable and the checkoff fee shall be deducted by the first purchaser at the time of sale. The first purchaser shall submit to the council any checkoff fees so deducted once every 30 days in accordance with the commissioner's rules.
The commissioner shall require producers petitioning for a promotional order to deposit in advance an amount necessary to defray the expense of electing the first council, formulating an order, submitting it to referendum and issuing the order. Funds received for that purpose shall be deposited in the commodity research and promotion account. If the order is issued, the producers shall be reimbursed when funds are available from assessments. If the order is not issued the commissioner shall refund only that portion of the deposit remaining after payment of expenses incurred on a pro rata basis.
Checkoff fees collected pursuant to sections 17.51 to 17.69 shall be deposited in a federally insured depository institution and shall be disbursed by the officers and employees approved by the council for the necessary expenses incurred in the administration of sections 17.51 to 17.69. Checkoff fees collected shall be used exclusively for the purpose collected and not to support or oppose a political party or a candidate for nomination or election to a public office.
All fees collected by the department under sections 17.51 to 17.69 and any other fees and income received by the department in the administration of these statutes shall be deposited in a separate account known as the commodity research and promotion account in the agricultural fund. Money in the account, including interest, is appropriated to the commissioner to carry out the duties of sections 17.51 to 17.69.
Each member of a council, except the commissioner, shall be entitled to a reasonable per diem, not exceeding the same rate of compensation per day as is authorized for payment to members of advisory councils and committees pursuant to section 15.059, subdivision 3, while engaged in the performance of duties, and actual expenses incurred while attending council meetings or executive committee meetings. Payments to council members for other official business of the council require approval by the council.
The council may appoint an attorney who shall act for the council and the commissioner when required. The council shall fix the compensation and terms of employment of such attorney. The provisions of chapter 8 shall not apply to this attorney.
All of the records of a council, except as otherwise provided in this section, shall be open to the public and shall be available for inspection by any person for any lawful purpose, provided, however, that the council shall be empowered to make reasonable rules concerning the inspection of the records, the time or place of inspection, or the manner in which the information shall be made available. Financial information pertaining to individual participating producers shall not be open to the public.
(a) Any producer, except a producer of potatoes in area number one, as listed in section 17.54, subdivision 9, a producer of wheat or barley, a producer of canola, or a producer of cultivated wild rice, may, by the use of forms to be provided by the commissioner and upon presentation of such proof as the commissioner requires, have the checkoff fee paid pursuant to sections 17.51 to 17.69 fully or partially refunded, provided the checkoff fee was remitted on a timely basis. The request for refund must be received in the office of the commissioner within the time specified in the promotion order following the payment of the checkoff fee. In no event shall these requests for refund be accepted more often than 12 times per year. Refund shall be made by the commissioner and council within 30 days of the request for refund provided that the checkoff fee sought to be refunded has been received. Rules governing the refund of checkoff fees for all commodities shall be formulated by the commissioner, shall be fully outlined in the promotion order, and shall be available for the information of all producers concerned with the referendum.
(b) The commissioner must allow partial refund requests from corn producers who have checked off and must allow for assignment of payment to the Minnesota Corn Growers Association if the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council requests such action by the commissioner.
(c) The Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council shall not elect to impose membership on any individual producer not requesting a partial refund or assignment of payment to the association.
(d) For any wheat, barley, or cultivated wild rice for which the checkoff fee must be paid pursuant to sections 17.51 to 17.69 and for which a checkoff fee or fee that serves a comparable purpose in a jurisdiction outside Minnesota had been previously paid for the same wheat, barley, or cultivated wild rice, the producer of the wheat, barley, or cultivated wild rice is exempt from payment of the checkoff fee. The commissioner, in consultation with the Wheat Research and Promotion Council, Barley Research and Promotion Council, and Cultivated Wild Rice Research and Promotion Council, shall determine jurisdictions outside of Minnesota which collect a checkoff fee or fee that serves a comparable purpose. In order to qualify for the exemption, the producer must demonstrate to the first purchaser that a checkoff fee or fee has been paid to such a jurisdiction.
The council after consultation with the commissioner and by a majority vote shall suspend or terminate a promotional order whenever it finds, after a public hearing, that an order is contrary to or does not effectuate the purposes or provisions of sections 17.51 to 17.69, provided that the suspension or termination shall not become effective until the expiration of the current marketing year.
Upon petition of the same number of producers as required to initiate the promotional order, the commissioner shall within 60 days conduct a referendum to determine whether or not the promotional order shall be continued. The commissioner shall terminate the order at the end of the current marketing year if a majority of the producers voting in the referendum vote in favor of termination. The petition of producers shall include a statement certifying that the signatures are those of qualified producers of the commodity involved. The commissioner shall not conduct a referendum for termination of a promotional order if a referendum for termination of the same promotional order has been conducted within the preceding year.
No activity, including meetings, undertaken in pursuance of the provisions of sections 17.51 to 17.69 and intended to benefit the producers, handlers and processors of such agricultural commodity shall be deemed or considered illegal or in restraint of trade.
Any person who violates any provision of sections 17.51 to 17.69 or any rule of the commissioner promulgated pursuant to sections 17.51 to 17.69 is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any first handler who fails to make collections or to file a return or to pay any assessment within the time required by sections 17.51 to 17.69, or who files a falsified return, shall be liable to the council for the amount due, plus a penalty of six percent of the amount due, plus one percent of the amount for each month of delay. If satisfied that the delay was excusable, the council may return all or any part of the penalty. Penalties shall be paid to the council and disposed of as provided with respect to other money collected under sections 17.51 to 17.69.
Agricultural products are produced 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.
"Association" or "association of producers" means an association of producers 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 the agricultural commodity, which has been accredited by the commissioner.
"Producer" means any person, who in any one calendar year within the previous two calendar years, produces or causes to be produced any agricultural commodity in quantity beyond the person's own family use, and who is able to transfer, during the calendar year, to a handler or an association a merchantable title to the agricultural commodity or provide management, labor, machinery, facilities, or any other production input, with the assumption of risk, for the production of the agricultural commodity under a written contract.
"Agricultural commodity" includes all agricultural goods produced under contract for marketing as defined by the commissioner of agriculture. It does not include any commodity sold by a producer to another producer for the other's own exclusive use and not for resale. The kinds, types and subtypes of products to be classed together as an agricultural commodity for the purposes of sections 17.691 to 17.701 shall be determined by the commissioner on the basis of common usage and practice.
"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.
"Marketing year" shall mean, generally, any time between the second day of February of the previous calendar year and the first day of February of the subsequent year, unless the commissioner shall determine an alternative time period for a specific agricultural commodity to be designated as its marketing year.
(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. 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.
(3) The commissioner may require all handlers of an agricultural commodity produced in a bargaining unit area as individuals to file within 30 days following 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.
(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.
In determination of accreditation, the commissioner shall determine the appropriate bargaining unit by plant, 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 companywide basis. This determination shall be the unit area for the bargaining provisions of sections 17.691 to 17.702 as is applicable to associations and handlers. In making a determination, the commissioner shall define as appropriate the bargaining unit area in terms 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:
(1) the community of interest of the producers included;
(2) the potential serious conflicts of interests among members of the proposed unit;
(3) the effect of exclusions on the capacity of the association to effectively bargain for the bargaining unit as defined;
(4) the kinds, types, and subtypes of products to be classed together as agricultural commodity for which the bargaining unit is proposed;
(5) whether the producers eligible for membership in the proposed bargaining unit meet the definition of "producer" for the agricultural commodity involved;
(6) the wishes of the producers; and
(7) the pattern of past marketing of the commodity.
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. 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.
Within 60 days of the filing date of the request for accreditation by an association, the commissioner shall determine whether the association shall be accredited. If the commissioner determines that insufficient evidence was filed by the association, the commissioner may permit the association to file an amended request for accreditation within 30 days following the determination and notification of the association. The commissioner shall then determine, within 30 days of the filing of the amended request, whether the association shall be accredited. An association which is denied accreditation after filing of an amended request may not file another request for accreditation for a period of one year.
Within 30 days of a decision by the commissioner denying accreditation to an association, the association may request a hearing before the commissioner. The commissioner shall then conduct a hearing to determine whether the association shall be accredited. This hearing shall be governed by the provisions of sections 14.57 and 14.60. If the commissioner, after this hearing has been held, determines that the association should not be accredited, the association may appeal this decision in accordance with sections 14.63 and 14.69. Only an association denied certification after such hearing may appeal under this chapter.
Accreditation of the association by the commissioner shall be effective upon receipt by the association of the notice of accreditation from the commissioner.
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 commissioner 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 50 percent of association members approve, the association accreditation shall be revoked by the 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.
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.
After accreditation of the association, the association shall establish and authorize a marketing and bargaining committee to negotiate, as the association's exclusive agent, with handlers for the sale and marketing of the agricultural commodity for which the association was accredited.
This committee shall be comprised of members of the association elected by the association in a secret ballot election, except that the association may contract with legal counsel who shall, at the discretion of the association, be eligible for membership on the committee.
The production of the agricultural commodity shall comprise a significant portion of the total producing operation of each committee member.
Members who have any quantity contracted with a producer owned and controlled processing cooperative are not eligible to serve on a marketing and bargaining committee for such a commodity.
Producers of agricultural commodities are free to join together voluntarily in associations as authorized by law without interference by handlers. A handler shall not engage in any of the following practices, defined as unfair practices:
(a) To 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 to refuse to deal with a producer because of the exercise of the right to join and belong to an association.
(b) To discriminate against a producer with respect to price, quantity, quality or other terms of purchase, acquisition or other handling of agricultural products because of membership in or contract with an association.
(c) To coerce or intimidate a producer to breach, cancel or terminate a membership agreement or marketing contract with an association or a contract with a handler.
(d) To pay or loan money, give anything of value or offer any other inducement or reward to a producer for refusing or ceasing to belong to an association.
(e) To make or circulate unsubstantiated reports about the finances, management or activities of associations or other handlers.
(g) To refuse to bargain with an association with whom the handler has had prior dealings or with an association whose producers in the bargaining units have had dealings with the handler prior to July 1, 1973.
An association shall not engage nor permit an employee or agent to engage in the following practices, defined as unfair practices:
(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;
(3) act in a manner contrary to the bylaws of the association;
(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;
(5) make or circulate unsubstantiated reports about the finances, management, or activities of other associations or handlers; or
As used in sections 17.691 to 17.702, "informational exchange" means the mutual obligation of a handler and an association or their designated representatives to meet at a mutually agreed-upon time in conformance with sections 17.691 to 17.702 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:
(1) prices and terms of sale;
(2) quality specifications;
(3) quantity to be marketed by acreage or weight;
(4) transactions involving products and services utilized by one party and provided by the other party; and
(5) checkoff procedures pursuant to assessments levied by 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 17.702, 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.
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.
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.
All costs for retaining a mediator and proceedings during the mediation process must be shared equally by both parties.
The commissioner has the subpoena authority to compel participation in the mediation process for either party after the informational exchanges.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 17.702, 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.
All decisions of mediation and arbitration which result from section 17.697 must consider the following factors:
(1) prices or projected prices for the agricultural commodity paid by the competing handlers in the market area or competing market areas worldwide;
(2) amount of the commodity produced or projections of production in the production area or competing marketing areas worldwide;
(3) relationship between the quantity produced and the quantity handled by the handler;
(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;
(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;
(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;
(10) the impact of the award on the competitive position of the agricultural commodity in relationship to competing commodities;
(11) a fair return on investment;
(12) kind, quality, or grade of the commodity involved;
(13) stipulation of the parties; and
(14) other factors which are normally or traditionally taken into consideration in determining prices, quality, quantity, and the costs of other services involved.
For the purpose of sections 17.691 to 17.702, 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 17.702, 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.
If the commissioner determines that the person complained of has committed a practice in violation of sections 17.691 to 17.702, 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 17.702.
If the commissioner is of the opinion that the person complained of has not committed a practice in violation of sections 17.691 to 17.702, the commissioner shall make findings of fact and issue an order dismissing the complaint.
Until the record in a case has been filed in a court the commissioner may, at any time upon reasonable notice and in such manner as the commissioner deems proper, modify or set aside, in whole or in part, any finding or order made or issued, with jurisdiction for such a change specified in additional findings of fact.
The commissioner may request the attorney general of the state of Minnesota to seek the appropriate temporary relief or restraining order of injunction in district court to insure the enforcement of the commissioner's findings.
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.
A production contract entered into, renewed, or amended on or after July 1, 1999, between an agricultural producer and a processor of agricultural products must not contain provisions that prohibit the producer from disclosing terms, conditions, and prices contained in the contract. Any provision prohibiting disclosure by the producer is void.
It is the policy of the state to preserve agricultural land and conserve its long-term use for the production of food and other agricultural products by:
(a) Protection of agricultural land and certain parcels of open space land from conversion to other uses;
(b) Conservation and enhancement of soil and water resources to ensure their long-term quality and productivity;
(c) Encouragement of planned growth and development of urban and rural areas to ensure the most effective use of agricultural land, resources and capital; and
(d) Fostering of ownership and operation of agricultural land by resident farmers.
The legislature finds that the policy in subdivision 1 will be best met by:
(a) Defining and locating lands well suited for the production of agricultural and forest products, and the use of that information as part of any local planning and zoning decision;
(b) Providing local units of government with coordinating guidelines, tools and incentives to prevent the unplanned and unscheduled conversion of agricultural and open space land to other uses;
(c) Providing relief from escalating property taxes and special assessments and protection of normal farm operations in agricultural areas subject to development pressures;
(d) Development of state policy to increase implementation of soil and water conservation by farmers;
(e) Assuring that state agencies act to maximize the preservation and conservation of agricultural land and minimize the disruption of agricultural production, in accordance with local social, economic and environmental considerations of the agricultural community;
(f) Assuring that public agencies employ and promote the use of management procedures which maintain or enhance the productivity of lands well suited to the production of food and other agricultural products;
(g) Guiding the orderly development and maintenance of transportation systems in rural Minnesota while preserving agricultural land to the greatest possible extent;
(h) Guiding the orderly construction and development of energy generation and transmission systems and enhancing the development of alternative energy to meet the needs of rural and urban communities and preserve agricultural land to the greatest possible extent by reducing energy costs and minimizing the use of agricultural land for energy production facilities; and
(i) Guiding the orderly development of solid and hazardous waste management sites to meet the needs and safety of rural and urban communities and preserve agricultural land to the greatest possible extent by minimizing the use of agricultural land for waste management sites.
"Action which adversely affects" means any of the following actions taken in respect to agricultural land which have or would have the effect of substantially restricting the agricultural use of the land: (1) acquisition for a nonagricultural use except acquisition for any unit of the outdoor recreation system described in section 86A.05, other than a trail described in subdivision 4 of that section; (2) granting of a permit, license, franchise or other official authorization for nonagricultural use; (3) lease of state-owned land for nonagricultural use except for mineral exploration or mining; or (4) granting or loaning of state funds for purposes which are not consistent with agricultural use.
"Agricultural land" means land which is in agricultural use, and which has been identified as agricultural land by a local unit of government pursuant to sections 394.21 to 394.37, 462.351 to 462.364, 366.10 to 366.181 or 473H.04, or which is composed of predominantly class I, II, III, or IV soils as identified in the land capability classification system of the United States Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service and the county soil survey, if completed.
"Agricultural use" means use of land for the production of livestock, dairy animals, dairy products, poultry and poultry products, fur bearing animals, horticultural and nursery stock which is under chapter 18H, fruit of all kinds, vegetables, forage, grains, bees, and apiary products. Wetlands, pasture and woodlands accompanying land in agricultural use shall be considered to be in agricultural use.
Any agency action which the agency determines will adversely affect ten acres or more of agricultural land shall be referred to the commissioner to be reviewed and acted upon as provided in section 17.84. No agency shall take any action which adversely affects ten acres or more of agricultural land without first attempting to find alternative methods or locations for the action or otherwise attempting to reduce the adverse affects. If, after evaluating the alternatives, the agency determines that the benefit to the state from preserving the agricultural use of the land is less than the cost of implementing an alternative action, the agency shall inform the commissioner of that determination in writing.
An agency action is not subject to review under this section or section 17.84 if the action is reviewed as required by chapter 116D and the environmental review rules adopted under that chapter, or if a political subdivision is required by law to review and approve the action.
Within 30 days of the receipt of the notice provided in section 17.82, the commissioner shall review the agency's proposed action, shall negotiate with the agency, and shall recommend to the agency in writing the implementation either of the action as proposed or an alternative. In making recommendations, the commissioner shall follow the statement of policy contained in section 17.80. If the agency receives no response from the commissioner within 30 days, it shall be deemed a recommendation that the agency take the action as proposed.
(a) The policy of the state is to promote livestock production on family farms under a broad range of management systems that are environmentally sound and meet all legal requirements of all jurisdictions, including federal, state, county, town, city, and watershed district requirements.
(b) In order to promote livestock production on family farms, state agencies when appropriate shall, to the extent allowed by law:
(1) promote the establishment of livestock enterprises on family farms;
(2) promote environmental protection and water quality improvement through increased livestock production that results in controlling runoff through increased acreage of hay, pasture, and small grains; and
(3) promote more farms to use agronomically applied manure to increase the water holding capacity of the soil and control erosion.
A laboratory services account is established in the agricultural fund. Payments for laboratory services performed by the Laboratory Services Division of the Department of Agriculture must be deposited in the agricultural fund and credited to the laboratory services account. Money in the account, including interest earned on the account, is annually appropriated to the commissioner of agriculture to administer the programs of the Laboratory Services Division.
The agriculture laboratory exists to provide analytical and technical services in support of agency programs that protect and enhance the states' agriculture, environment, and food chain. The laboratory may provide analytical and technical services for a fee to any public or private entity as requested or required to meet department objectives in support of Minnesota agriculture and a national food safety system.
The following course of action is intended as a basis for prompt action to the maximum extent practical within the limits of state, local, and commercial resources. The assignment of a basic responsibility to a particular agency is not intended to confer exclusive responsibility or authority unless specifically stated, for joint action is intended as the key to a successful program.
The University of Minnesota and its Extension Service in cooperation with the commissioner of agriculture shall institute a continuing research program on tree varieties most suitable for growth within the state; and the proper placement of individual trees and groups of trees in new or existing commercial, industrial, and residential settings to maximize energy saving benefits. The University of Minnesota and the commissioner shall work closely with nurseries and other suppliers of trees to assure a constant and reliable supply of the desirable varieties is available for planting.
The University of Minnesota Extension Service, in cooperation with the commissioners of agriculture, education, natural resources, and commerce, shall serve as the principal agency for publishing and circulating information derived from research under subdivision 2 among the various municipalities and individual property owners in the state. Where practical, the Extension Service and the State Energy Office in the Department of Commerce shall secure the advice and assistance of various energy utilities interested and concerned with conservation. The commissioner of agriculture shall establish an information source for requests for nursery stock, to match needs of municipalities with stocks of trees available for planting from private and governmental sources.
The commissioner of transportation shall utilize information on varieties and placement of trees to provide maximum forestation in rest areas and other areas controlled by the department. The commissioner of transportation should consider the use of trees in conjunction with solid noise walls along urban freeways to the maximum extent practical.
The commissioners of education, agriculture, and natural resources, with the state Arbor Month Committee and its individual public and private members, shall jointly work to expand and strengthen programs available to all levels of schools in forestry education and shall encourage reinstitution of Arbor Day activities. Information on desirable shade tree varieties and efficient spacing and location of shade trees shall be made available for use in related adult education courses.
A city of the first or second class shall, by ordinance, require of the developer the use of properly placed trees in new subdivisions and plantings on lands dedicated to parks and open spaces. Cities of the third and fourth class may adopt such ordinances. Counties may assist and encourage the smaller cities in tree planting programs. A municipality may contract on a long-term basis with nurseries and shade tree wholesalers to assure continued availability of nursery stock of the desirable shade tree varieties.
The commissioner, in cooperation with the Pollution Control Agency, dairy equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and other interested parties, shall develop a program to provide replacement nonmercury manometers for a $50 fee and to arrange for the acceptance, disposal, and recycling of the mercury, apparatus, and manometers at no cost to the dairy farmer. The mercury, manometers, and apparatus shall be managed in accordance with sections 115A.932 and 116.92.
"Agricultural contract" means any written contract between a contractor and a producer, but does not include a contract between a grain buyer licensed under section 223.17, subdivision 1, who purchases grain from a producer as a merchant or seller of grain and does not contract with the producer to grow or raise the crops producing the grain.
"Agricultural commodity" means a material produced for use in or as food, feed, seed, or fiber and includes crops for fiber, food, oilseeds, seeds, livestock, livestock products, poultry, poultry products, and other products or by-products of the farm produced for the same or similar use.
"Contractor" means a person who in the ordinary course of business buys agricultural commodities grown or raised in this state or who contracts with a producer to grow or raise agricultural commodities in this state.
[Renumbered subd 3c]
"Legible type" means a typeface at least as large as ten-point modern type, one-point leaded.
"Producer" means a person who produces or causes to be produced an agricultural commodity in a quantity beyond the person's own family use and:
(1) is able to transfer title to another; or
(2) provides management, labor, machinery, facilities, or any other production input for the production of an agricultural commodity.
A contract for an agricultural commodity between a contractor and a producer must contain language providing for resolution of contract disputes by either mediation or arbitration. If there is a contract dispute, either party may make a written request to the commissioner for mediation or arbitration services as specified in the contract, to facilitate resolution of the dispute.
An agricultural contract must be accompanied by a clear written disclosure setting forth the nature of the material risks faced by the producer if the producer enters into the contract. The statement must meet the plain language requirements of section 17.943. The statement may be in the form of a written statement or checklist and may be developed in cooperation with producers or producer organizations. A contractor may submit a sample material risk disclosure statement to the commissioner for examination. If the commissioner approves of the statement or fails to respond within 30 days of receipt of the statement, the statement will be deemed to comply with this subdivision and with the plain language requirements of section 17.943.
A contractor must not terminate or cancel a contract that requires a producer of agricultural commodities to make a capital investment in buildings or equipment that cost $100,000 or more and have a useful life of five or more years until:
(1) the producer has been given written notice of the intention to terminate or cancel the contract at least 180 days before the effective date of the termination or cancellation or as provided in subdivision 3; and
(2) the producer has been reimbursed for damages incurred by an investment in buildings or equipment that was made for the purpose of meeting minimum requirements of the contract.
Except as provided in subdivision 3, if a producer fails to comply with the provisions of a contract that requires a capital investment subject to subdivision 1, a contractor may not terminate or cancel that contract until:
(1) the contractor has given written notice with all the reasons for the termination or cancellation at least 90 days before termination or cancellation or as provided in subdivision 3; and
(2) the recipient of the notice fails to correct the reasons stated for termination or cancellation in the notice within 60 days of receipt of the notice.
The 180-day notice period under subdivision 1, clause (1), and the 90-day notice period and 60-day notice period under subdivision 2, clauses (1) and (2), are waived and the contract may be canceled or terminated immediately if the alleged grounds for termination or cancellation are:
(1) voluntary abandonment of the contract relationship by the producer; or
(2) conviction of the producer of an offense directly related to the business conducted under the contract.
If a contractor is required to obtain a license to purchase agricultural commodities, the licensing authority may require the parent company of a licensee subsidiary to guarantee payment or contract performance as a condition of licensing.
If an agricultural contractor is the subsidiary of another corporation, partnership, or association, the parent corporation, partnership, or association is liable to a seller for the amount of any unpaid claim or contract performance claim if the contractor fails to pay or perform according to the terms of the contract.
There is an implied promise of good faith as defined in section 336.1-201(b)(20), by all parties in all agricultural contracts. In an action to recover damages, if the court finds that there has been a violation of this provision, damages, court costs, and attorney fees may be recovered.
A producer may cancel an agricultural contract by mailing a written cancellation notice to the contractor within three business days after the producer receives a copy of the signed contract, or before a later cancellation deadline if a later deadline is specified in the contract. The producer's right to cancel, the method by which the producer may cancel, and the deadline for canceling the contract shall be clearly disclosed in every agricultural contract.
An agricultural contract entered into or substantively amended after January 1, 2001, must contain as the first page, or first page of text if it is preceded by a title page or pages, a cover sheet as provided in this section.
The cover sheet or sheets must comply with section 17.943, and must contain the following:
(1) a brief statement that the document is a legal contract between the contractor and the producer;
(2) the statement "READ YOUR CONTRACT CAREFULLY. This cover sheet provides only a brief summary of your contract. This is not the contract and only the terms of the actual contract are legally binding. The contract itself sets forth, in detail, the rights and obligations of both you and the contractor. IT IS THEREFORE IMPORTANT THAT YOU READ YOUR CONTRACT CAREFULLY.";
(3) the written disclosure of material risks required by section 17.91, subdivision 2;
(4) a statement detailing, in plain language, the producer's right to review the contract as described in section 17.941; and
(5) an index of the major provisions of the contract and the pages on which they are found, including:
(i) the names of all parties to the contract;
(ii) the definition sections of the contract;
(iii) the provisions governing cancellation, renewal, or amendment of the contract by either party;
(iv) the duties or obligations of each party; and
(v) any provisions subject to change in the contract.
An agricultural contract must be in legible type, appropriately divided and captioned by its various sections, and written in clear and coherent language using words and grammar that are understandable by a person of average intelligence, education, and experience within the industry.
Subdivision 1 does not apply to particular words, phrases, provisions, or forms of agreement specifically required, recommended, or endorsed by a state or federal statute, rule, or regulation.
An agricultural contract may include technical terms to describe the services or property which are the subject of the contract, if the terms are customarily used by producers in the ordinary course of business in connection with the services or property being described.
For purposes of this section and section 17.943, "agricultural contract" includes, where applicable, the cover sheet as defined in section 17.942, and material risk disclosure statement required by section 17.91, subdivision 2.
A contractor may submit an agricultural contract to the commissioner for review as to whether it complies with section 17.943. After reviewing the contract, the commissioner shall:
(1) certify that the contract complies with section 17.943;
(2) decline to certify that the contract complies with section 17.943 and note objections;
(3) decline to review the contract because the contract's compliance with section 17.943 is subject to pending litigation; or
(4) decline to review the contract because the contract is not subject to section 17.943.
In determining whether a contract or cover sheet is readable within the meaning of section 17.943, the commissioner shall consider at least the following factors:
(1) the simplicity of the sentence structure;
(2) the extent to which commonly used and understood words are employed;
(3) the extent to which esoteric legal terms are avoided;
(4) the extent to which references to other sections or provisions of the contract are minimized;
(5) the Flesch scale analysis readability score as outlined in section 72C.09;
(6) the extent to which clear definitions are used in the text of the contract; and
(7) additional factors relevant to the contract being easy to read and understand.
Actions of the commissioner under subdivision 1 are not subject to chapter 14 and are not appealable.
A contract certified under subdivision 1 is deemed to comply with section 17.943. Certification of a contract under subdivision 1 does not constitute an approval of the contract's legality or legal effect.
If the commissioner certifies a contract or fails to respond within 30 days of receipt of the contract, the contractor will have complied with sections 17.91 and 17.943, and the remedies stated in subdivisions 7 and 8 are not available.
Failure to submit a contract to the commissioner for review under subdivision 1 does not show a lack of good faith or raise a presumption that the contract violates section 17.943.
(a) In addition to the remedies provided in section 8.31, a court reviewing an agricultural contract may change the terms of the contract or limit a provision to avoid an unfair result if it finds that:
(1) a material provision of the contract violates section 17.943;
(2) the violation caused the producer to be substantially confused about any of the rights, obligations, or remedies of the contract; and
(3) the violation has caused or is likely to cause financial detriment to the producer.
(b) If the court reforms or limits a provision of a contract, the court shall also make orders necessary to avoid unjust enrichment. Bringing a claim for relief under this subdivision does not entitle a producer to withhold performance of an otherwise valid contractual obligation. No relief may be granted under this subdivision unless the claim is brought before the obligations of the contract have been fully performed.
In a proceeding in which civil penalties are claimed from a party for a violation of section 17.943, it is a defense to the claim that the party made a good faith and reasonable effort to comply with section 17.943.
In a class action or series of class actions that arise from the use by a contractor of an agricultural contract found to violate section 17.943, the amount of attorney's fees and costs of investigation assessed against that contractor and in favor of the class or classes may not exceed $10,000.
Violation of section 17.943 is not a defense to a claim arising from a producer's breach of an agricultural contract. A producer may recover actual damages caused by a violation of section 17.943 only if the violation caused the producer to not understand the rights, obligations, or remedies of the contract.
The requirements for the written disclosure of material risks under section 17.91, subdivision 2; the three-day review period under section 17.941; the cover sheet requirement under section 17.942; and the contract readability requirements under section 17.943, subdivision 1, do not apply to contracts which provide for:
(1) the sale and purchase of a fixed amount of a commodity for delivery at a set price;
(2) cash sale and forward delivery grain contracts for grain meeting certain specifications and does not prescribe the time, manner, and nature of planting, cultivating, and harvesting the crop producing the grain, including fixed price forward contracts, minimum price contracts, mini-max contracts, basis contracts, hedge-to-arrive contracts, and delayed price contracts;
(4) futures contracts which involve the sale or purchase of a standardized quantity of a commodity for future delivery on a regulated commodity exchange;
(5) agricultural marketing contracts between a capital stock cooperative and its members under section 308A.205; or
(6) occasional sales between persons who produce or cause to be produced food, feed, or fiber in a quantity beyond their own family use.
A position is created in the Department of Agriculture to provide information, investigate complaints arising from this chapter, and provide or facilitate dispute resolutions.
If a producer makes a prepayment for agricultural production inputs that include but are not limited to seed, feed, fertilizer, pesticides, or fuel for future delivery, the producer may demand a letter of credit or bank guarantee from the provider of the inputs to ensure reimbursement if delivery does not occur.
A person who violates a provision of chapter 25 or 31B for which a penalty has not been prescribed is guilty of a misdemeanor.
(a) The commissioner may, as an alternative to misdemeanor prosecution, impose an administrative penalty on a person who violates a statute or rule enforceable by the commissioner. For a first violation, the commissioner may impose an administrative penalty of not more than $1,000 for each violation. For a second or succeeding violation, the commissioner may impose an administrative penalty of not more than $1,500 for each violation. Each day a violation continues is a separate violation.
(b) In determining the amount of the administrative penalty the commissioner may consider:
(1) the willfulness of the violation;
(2) the gravity of the violation;
(3) the person's history of past violations;
(4) the number of violations;
(5) the economic benefit from the violation; and
(6) other factors identified in the commissioner's citation.
(c) For a second or succeeding violation, the commissioner shall determine the amount of a penalty by considering the factors in paragraph (b) and:
(1) similarity between the violations;
(2) time elapsed since the last violation; and
(3) the person's response to the most recent violation.
If a person has violated a provision of chapter 25, 31B, or 32, the commissioner may issue a written citation to the person by personal service or by certified mail. The citation must describe the nature of the violation and the statute or rule alleged to have been violated; state the time for correction, if applicable; and the amount of any proposed fine. The citation must advise the person to notify the commissioner in writing within 30 days if the person wishes to appeal the citation. If the person fails to appeal the citation, the citation is the final order and not subject to further review.
If a person appeals a citation or a penalty assessment within the time limits in subdivision 1, the commissioner shall initiate a contested proceeding under chapter 14.
To carry out the commissioner's enforcement duties under chapter 32, the commissioner may, upon presenting appropriate credentials, during regular working hours and at other reasonable times, inspect premises subject to the commissioner's enforcement and licensing authority for reasons related to the commissioner's enforcement and licensing authority; request information from persons with information relevant to an inspection; and inspect relevant papers and records, including business records. The commissioner may issue notices in lieu of citations for minor violations if a notice is in the public interest.
The commissioner may administer oaths, take and cause to be taken depositions of witnesses, and issue subpoenas, and may petition the district court in the county in which the premises is located to compel compliance with subpoenas or to permit an inspection.
The Passing on the Farm Center is established as a part of Southwest Technical College in Granite Falls to assist individuals beginning farming and family farming operations. The center shall also assist in facilitating the transition of farming operations from established farmers to beginning farmers by creating and maintaining an information base inventorying land and facilities available for acquisition and bringing them together to increase the number of family farming operations in this state. The objectives of the center include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) using the services of a certified public accountant, real estate agents, and attorneys to provide education in estate planning and farm transfer programs for interested retiring farmers;
(2) assessing needs of beginning farmers and retiring farmers in order to identify program and service opportunities including developing statewide apprenticeship programs between beginning and retiring farmers; and
(3) developing, coordinating, and delivering statewide through Southwest Technical College in Granite Falls and other entities, as appropriate, targeted education to beginning farmers and retiring farm families.
Programs and services provided by the center must include, but are not limited to, the development of skills and knowledge in farm estate planning and other topics related to intergenerational farm transfer. The center shall develop and distribute a detailed questionnaire for interested retired farmers and landowners and beginning farmers for the purpose of connecting them with each other and to develop computerized lists. The center shall coordinate to the extent practicable with agricultural information centers.
The center shall submit a report annually to the legislature on or before February 1. The report shall include, but is not limited to, recommendations for methods by which more individuals may be encouraged to enter agriculture.
No law enforcement, peace, or animal control officer may enter a facility where confined farm animals are kept unless the officer follows a procedure and directive for biosecurity measures that are identified by the commissioner of natural resources and the Board of Animal Health.
This section does not apply to emergency or exigent circumstances.
The commissioner, in consultation with the commissioner of natural resources, commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency, and Board of Water and Soil Resources, may implement a Minnesota agricultural water quality certification program whereby a producer who demonstrates practices and management sufficient to protect water quality is certified for up to ten years and presumed to be contributing the producer's share of any targeted reduction of water pollutants during the certification period. The program is voluntary. The voluntary program will first be piloted in selected watersheds across the state, until the commissioner, in consultation with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program Advisory Committee, commissioner of natural resources, commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency, and Board of Water and Soil Resources, determines the program is suitable to be implemented in other watersheds.
"Certification" means a producer has demonstrated compliance with all applicable environmental rules and statutes for all of the producer's owned and rented agricultural land and has achieved a satisfactory score through the certification instrument as verified by a certifying agent.
"Certifying agent" means a person who is authorized by the commissioner to assess producers to determine whether a producer satisfies the standards of the program.
"Effective control" means possession of land by ownership, written lease, or other legal agreement and authority to act as decision-maker for the day-to-day management of the operation at the time the producer achieves certification and for the required certification period.
"Eligible land" means all acres of a producer's agricultural operation, whether contiguous or not, that are under the effective control of the producer at the time the producer enters into the program and that the producer operates with equipment, labor, and management.
"Program" means the Minnesota agricultural water quality certification program.
"Technical assistance" means professional, advisory, or cost-share assistance provided to individuals in order to achieve certification.
The commissioner, in consultation with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program Advisory Committee, commissioner of natural resources, commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency, and Board of Water and Soil Resources, shall develop an analytical instrument to assess the water quality practices and management of agricultural operations. This instrument shall be used to certify that the water quality practices and management of an agricultural operation are consistent with state water quality goals and standards. The commissioner shall define a satisfactory score for certification purposes. The certification instrument tool shall:
(1) integrate applicable existing regulatory requirements;
(2) utilize technology and prioritize ease of use;
(3) utilize a water quality index or score applicable to the landscape;
(4) incorporate a process for updates and revisions as practices, management, and technology changes become established and approved; and
(5) comprehensively address water quality impacts.
A person who offers certification services to producers as part of the program must satisfy all criteria in subdivision 2 and be licensed by the commissioner. A certifying agent is ineligible to provide certification services to any producer to whom the certifying agent has also provided technical assistance. Notwithstanding section 16A.1283, the commissioner may set license fees.
In order to be licensed as a certifying agent, a person must:
(1) be an agricultural conservation professional employed by a soil and water conservation district or the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a Minnesota certified crop advisor recognized by the American Society of Agronomy, or an individual with agricultural conservation experience approved by the commissioner. The commissioner may establish eligibility criteria by rule;
(2) have passed a comprehensive exam, as set by the commissioner, evaluating knowledge of water quality, soil health, best farm management techniques, and the certification instrument; and
(3) maintain continuing education requirements as set by the commissioner.
A certifying agent shall conduct a formal certification assessment utilizing the certification instrument to determine whether a producer meets program criteria. If a producer satisfies all requirements, the certifying agent shall notify the commissioner of the producer's eligibility and request that the commissioner issue a certificate. All records and documents used in the assessment shall be compiled by the certifying agent and submitted to the commissioner.
(a) In the event a certifying agent violates any provision of sections 17.9891 to 17.993 or an order of the commissioner, the commissioner may issue a written warning or a correction order and may suspend or revoke a license.
(b) If the commissioner suspends or revokes a license, the certifying agent has ten days from the date of suspension or revocation to appeal. If a certifying agent appeals, the commissioner shall hold an administrative hearing within 30 days of the suspension or revocation of the license, or longer by agreement of the parties, to determine whether the license is revoked or suspended. The commissioner shall issue an opinion within 30 days. If a person notifies the commissioner that the person intends to contest the commissioner's opinion, the Office of Administrative Hearings shall conduct a hearing in accordance with the applicable provisions of chapter 14 for hearings in contested cases.
A producer who seeks certification of eligible land shall conduct an initial assessment using the certification instrument, obtain technical assistance if necessary to achieve a satisfactory score on the certification instrument, and apply for certification from a licensed certifying agent.
Once certified, if a producer obtains ownership of additional agricultural land, the producer must notify a certifying agent and obtain certification of the additional land within one year in order to retain the producer's original certification.
Once certified, if a producer leases additional land, then the producer must notify a certifying agent before farming operations commence on the newly leased land. A producer who operates leased land is not required to implement practices that permanently alter the landscape in order to be certified or remain certified if the land is added following the original certification. A producer who operates leased land must demonstrate sufficient annual crop management practices, consistent with the original certification agreement, in order to remain certified.
(a) The commissioner may revoke a certification if the producer violates subdivision 2 or 3.
(b) The commissioner may revoke a certification and seek reimbursement of any monetary benefit a producer may have received due to certification from a producer who fails to maintain certification criteria.
(c) If the commissioner revokes a certification, the producer has 30 days from the date of suspension or revocation to appeal. If a producer appeals, the commissioner shall hold an administrative hearing within 30 days of the suspension or revocation of the certification, or longer by agreement of the parties, to determine whether the certification is revoked or suspended. The commissioner shall issue an opinion within 30 days. If the producer notifies the commissioner that the producer intends to contest the commissioner's opinion, the Office of Administrative Hearings shall conduct a hearing in accordance with the applicable provisions of chapter 14 for hearings in contested cases.
(a) Once a producer is certified, the producer:
(1) retains certification for up to ten years from the date of certification if the producer complies with the certification agreement, even if the producer does not comply with new state water protection laws or rules that take effect during the certification period;
(2) is presumed to be meeting the producer's contribution to any targeted reduction of pollutants during the certification period;
(3) is required to continue implementation of practices that maintain the producer's certification; and
(4) is required to retain all records pertaining to certification.
(b) Paragraph (a) does not preclude enforcement of a local rule or ordinance by a local unit of government.
The commissioner shall perform random audits of producers and certifying agents to ensure compliance with the program. All producers and certifying agents shall cooperate with the commissioner during these audits, and provide all relevant documents to the commissioner for inspection and copying. Any delay, obstruction, or refusal to cooperate with the commissioner's audit or falsification of or failure to provide required data or information is a violation subject to the provisions of section 17.9895, subdivision 2, or 17.9896, subdivision 4.
All data collected under the program that identifies a producer or a producer's location are considered nonpublic data as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 9, or private data on individuals as defined in section 13.02, subdivision 12. The commissioner shall make available summary data of program outcomes on data classified as private or nonpublic under this section.
The commissioner may adopt rules to implement the program.
The commissioner, in consultation with the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program Advisory Committee, commissioner of natural resources, commissioner of the Pollution Control Agency, and Board of Water and Soil Resources, shall issue a biennial report to the chairs and ranking minority members of the legislative committees with jurisdiction over agricultural policy on the status of the program.
The commissioner may use contributions from gifts or other state accounts, provided that the purpose of the expenditure is consistent with the purpose of the accounts, for grants, loans, or other financial assistance.