Minnesotans interested in making it easier for new and emerging farmers to create or sustain an agricultural business are encouraged to apply to join a legislatively created Emerging Farmers’ Working Group through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).
“Minnesota has a vibrant farming economy and community, but we know that some new farmers – especially women, Indigenous people, people of color, immigrants, young people, and veterans – face difficult barriers when entering the field,” said Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan. “By supporting emerging farmers, we are eliminating barriers to entry to agriculture, building a stronger agricultural economy, and broadening the future of farming in Minnesota.”
Interested people can apply by October 2, 2020 to serve on the working group, which will have 15-20 members and meet on a regular basis, beginning in November, Assistant Commissioner Patrice Bailey said.
“Making Minnesota’s agricultural economy more inclusive will benefit our entire state,” he said. “This working group will advise the MDA and the Legislature on how to support emerging farmers and create a climate where everyone who wants to farm can succeed.”
The working group was created as a result of six listening sessions throughout Minnesota in the fall of 2019 convened by the MDA. 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 findings of those listening sessions were compiled in a legislative report (pdf), which recommended creation of a working group to provide guidance to Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen on developing programs and initiatives to support emerging farmers in Minnesota.
Anyone is eligible to apply. Priority areas for membership include:
- Persons with a disability/disabilities
- American Indian/Alaska Native
- Communities of color
To apply to serve on the Emerging Farmers Working Group, please visit the application page. Forms and more information can be found on the Emerging Farmers web page.
Larry Schumacher, MDA Communications