The 2005 legislature passed legislation directing the Commissioner of Agriculture to assemble an Agricultural Nutrient Task Force (ANTF) to study four topics related to agricultural nutrient issues. The Task Force was to review and make recommendations on at least the following four topics and practices:
In 2007, the Minnesota Legislature established the Minnesota Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Program for the purpose of directing fertilizer research and outreach programs. The enabling legislation establishing the governing Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council (AFREC) is Minnesota Statutes 18C.70 and 18C.71. The legislation also directed the Commissioner to report to the House and Senate Committees with jurisdiction over agriculture finance. The report was submitted February 1, 2009. Each year MDA announces a Request for Proposal (RFP) for projects using funds generated by fertilizer sales.
In 2009, the Minnesota Legislature established the funding mechanisms for the program. The Fertilizer Inspection Fee was increased by $0.70 per ton to support the Ag Fertilizer Research and Education Program beginning July 1, 2009. Starting on July 1, 2011, the Council was given the authority to spend up to $800,000 per year to support soil fertility research and associated educational activities. The Council is funded by using 57% of the existing Fertilizer Inspection Fee as directed by Minnesota Laws Chapter 94, Article 1, Sect 3, Subd.5. This language also directed the Commissioner to provide another update to the House and Senate Committees with jurisdiction over agricultural finance. Fertilizer sales from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, will allow a maximum spending cap of $1,100,000 for this RFP.