"Minnesota agriculture is made stronger by our diversity. I'm excited to see farmers from every community engage in an industry that is foundational to our state's culture and economy. We know that farmers face unique challenges when it comes to weather and commodity prices, and these barriers can prevent new or potential farmers from entering the field, especially those from underrepresented communities. As we build the agricultural industry of the future, it's critical that all voices and ideas are at the table, and I commend the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for starting this conversation." - Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture convened six Emerging Farmers Listening Sessions during the fall of 2019. These sessions' aim was to advance the success and sustainability of farmers who traditionally face barriers to the education and resources necessary to build profitable agricultural businesses, including immigrant farmers and farmers of color.
The agriculture industry in Minnesota faces a time of transition, due to trade wars with China, lower commodity prices, high input costs and uncertainty about the future of farming. Our goal in these listening sessions is to hear from people directly about the barriers that emerging farmers face and also to learn to tell a more complete story about farming in Minnesota - one that accurately encompasses what farmers of all backgrounds are experiencing.
We gathered information regarding issues that Minnesota emerging farmers are experiencing and brainstormed potential solutions to effectively transform the issues discussed.
That information was presented to the Minnesota Legislature as the Emerging Farmers in Minnesota Legislative Report (pdf).