State programs for agriculture weren’t hit too hard in the just-finished legislative session, said the president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation.
Kevin Paap told the Marshall Independent that general funding for the state Department of Agriculture was cut by 8 percent, but the agency’s core missions of food safety, animal health and environmental protection should not be impacted.
Cuts included the ag board, animal health and the ag utilization research institute.
“Our No. 1 concern is and will continue to be as we look ahead to next year’s session, to make sure the core functions — food safety, animal health and environmental protection — are maintained and make sure the resources are there to follow through with those missions,” Paap said.
Next year, though, with an even bigger projected deficit, will bring more problems, he said:
“Listening to [Department of Agriculture] Commissioner [Gene] Hugoson, if we’re asked to make significant cuts in the next biennium, nothing’s gonna be sacred,” Paap said. “Everything will be on the table —we have to decide what’s nice and what’s necessary, what can be combined for efficiency. We won’t have the dollars to do things status quo. It’s hard to keep going without eliminating programs, or people. But we’ll continue to make sure the department has the resources to continue with its core mission.”