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Legislative hangups

Legislative members attending the New Ulm Farm-City Hub Club Farm Show Saturday gave generously of their time to answer questions in a legislative forum devoted to farm issues.

No doubt it took them that long to try to explain why the Minnesota Legislature still hasn’t passed legislation providing drought relief for farmers affected by last year’s dry season.

Practically everyone in the Legislature, Republicans and Democrats alike, are agreed that livestock and specialty crop farmers who didn’t qualify for crop insurance last year need help, and there is a plan for $10 million in relief, if legislators can agree on that.

But a lot of people have different ideas. The DFL-controlled House passed its version of the plan last week, which includes $13 million to help pay to replace trees lost to the drought and finance water infrastructure.

Republicans in the Senate, however, don’t like loading up a bill with a lot of extras. Their plan would be $10 million for drought relief, plus a little extra money for deer farmers affected by the drought and CWD, and to prepare for the possibility of avian flu affecting poultry flocks.

Farmers who took the hit last year are wondering how long it will take the House and Senate to has out their differences. Time is not a luxury for farmers who are looking at purchasing seed and fertilizer in time for spring planting.

We hope legislators will expedite the negotiations and get this issue passed quickly.

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