Frequently Asked Questions
What is A Greater Minnesota or AGM?
AGM is a Minnesota coalition spreading the word about the importance of good farms, food and jobs in the state. The coalition is all about welcoming support for the “big tent” within Minnesota’s farm and food sector.
What is the goal of AGM?
AGM’s goal is to inform state legislative candidates about key issues and to encourage them to commit to support policies that protect and grow Minnesota’s farm and food economy. Second, we want to inform the public about our industry and encourage voters to support legislative candidates in the November 8th general election who commit to the Grow MN Food Plan.
What is the GROW MN FOOD PLAN?
The Grow MN Food Plan encourages support for all good Minnesota farms (large or small, rural or urban, conventional or organic.), new investments in research that enhances agriculture productivity and sustainability, policies that help rural Minnesota grow, smarter regulation and strategies that address the larger issues related to water quality.
Why are you trying to get candidates to commit to it?
We would like to hear more the candidates than generic rhetoric – “I support farm and food” – and seek their public commitment to specific issues that impact Minnesota farms and food production.
Who is behind the AGM initiative?
The Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, which includes several Minnesota food and ag-related companies and organizations, the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association, Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and various other Minnesota farm and food entities support the AGM coalition.
Why are farms and related food production so important to Minnesota?
The Minnesota farm and food industry is the state’s second largest economic engine. It is largely responsible for the quality food we all enjoy every day. The market value of food and farm products sold in Minnesota each year is about $21.3 billion, according to the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture. Additionally, nearly 400,000 Minnesota jobs are directly or indirectly connected to the industry, 80 percent of which are not the farm.
Why are you trying to generate support for farms and food production in Minnesota?
State policies materially impact Minnesota’s competitive position in relation to other states and across the globe by influencing the ability to grow jobs and operate businesses in the farm and food sector, whether located in the Twin Cities or Greater Minnesota. We need our elected officials to be a stronger partner with and supporter of the farm and food industry and its policy priorities. We have formed the AGM coalition to raise awareness among voters and candidates about the need to adopt and maintain policies that support the growth of Minnesota’s farm and food industry.
Well, what has the farm and food sector done to improve the industry?
The care, safety and protected environment of our farms and farm animals has never been better. Farmers today are producing more crops using less water, fuel and outputs (fertilizers and weed control), ethically managing their livestock. Whether it’s organic or traditional, the food that you consume is safer, more plentiful and affordably priced than at any other time in history.
Does the current regulatory structure inhibit the growth and competitiveness of the farm and food sector?
Currently, unlike other states, Minnesota operates a regulatory system replete with duplicative permitting authorities and regulations, which result in unnecessary delays that increase costs and make our farmers and agriculture/food companies less competitive compared to those in other states. Minnesota can smartly regulate farm and food practices in order to meet desired goals but it will require solid leadership at the legislative level.
How will increased investments in scientific and technology research benefit the farm and food sector, as well as consumers?
We all want nutritional/safe food that is produced with sound and sustainable farm practices at an affordable price, which also enables farmers, agriculture and food companies in Minnesota to be profitable. However, we don’t yet have all the answers and tools to meet these objectives. Scientific research funded by government and industry will help farmers use less energy, water and inputs to reduce environmental impacts; further improving food safety; and providing even better nutrition.
What needs to done to protect statewide water quality?
Recent attention singled out farm practices as the primary contributor to water quality issues in Minnesota. Minnesota farmers have a vested interest in protecting the land and water near their farms, critical driving water, livestock and crops. The impacts to water are much larger than just farmers, however, and include chemical run-off from homeowners and golf courses, impacts from manufacturing and power plants, septic and sewer systems and road salt run-off. Minnesota needs a “macro solution” that effectively addresses the larger impacts to our state’s water quality.
How can Minnesotan’s get involved with AGM?
We have a number of ways for citizens to get involved. We encourage them to visit our website, www.farmandfoodmn.org, ‘like’ us on FaceBook and follow us on Twitter. Our website offers helpful information, interesting videos and additional resources for people to get involved. Most importantly, we feature an easy tool for voters to find out where their legislative candidates stand on the Grow MN Food Plan and the ability to send their candidates an email either thanking them or encouraging their support.