How the Emerging Farmers Working Group began:
The Emerging Farmers Working Group, established by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture during the 2020 legislative session (Chapter 89 Section 2 [17.055]), embodies the department's commitment to uplift and empower emerging farmers in Minnesota. The group's definition of emerging farmers encompasses a range of identities, including women, veterans, persons with disabilities, American Indian or Alaskan Natives, members of a community of color, young (35 and younger) farmers, Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, or asexual (LGBTQIA+) individuals, urban (reside in cities with a population over 5,000), and others as determined by the commissioner. This definition reflects the department's intention to foster inclusivity and equity within the agricultural sector.
The role of the working group is to recommend and advise to the Commissioner of how MDA can improve new and existing programs that make the lives of Emerging Farmers better. This goal of the group is not to learn about how MDA functions as an agency but also how to advocate legislatively as well. The formation of this group arises from the recognition that emerging farmers face distinct challenges and opportunities within the agricultural industry. Designed to address their specific needs and concerns, the Emerging Farmers Working Group seeks to ensure that the voices of these farmers are heard, and their contributions are acknowledged. By engaging with a diverse array of collaborators, including emerging farmers, agricultural organizations, community leaders, and experts, the group aims to shape policies and programs that directly impact emerging farmers. This collaborative approach enables the identification of effective strategies and solutions.
The Emerging Farmers Working Group has emerged as a crucial advocate for emerging farmers in Minnesota. By providing dedicated support and generating ideas that benefit the broader emerging farmer community, the group strives to create a more inclusive and supportive agricultural landscape. Regular engagement with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture ensures ongoing collaboration, allowing the group to contribute valuable insights and recommendations, further advancing the cause of emerging farmers throughout the state.
Thank you for taking time to fill out this application to become a member of the Emerging Farmers Working Group (EFWG). We look forward to hearing from you!