The First Congressional District is the Silicon Valley of food and agriculture. Farmers and ranchers populate the district from border to border. Their production drives economic activity across the world and is also deeply impacted by fluctuations in the price of goods, services and labor in other countries. How Congress chooses to support our farms, both big and small, has an immediate and direct impact on the livelihood of our community and it is incumbent upon whoever replaces Tim Walz to carry on his strong advocacy in Washington, DC.
Agriculture and Farming
Agricultural production and the farm economy are the foundation of southern Minnesota. I am consistently impressed with the variety of farm activity in the First District. When you travel from county to county, you are exposed to wide range of agricultural production. From small, family farms to regional co-ops, the spirit of community and hard work is embodied in our Ag economy. However, there is no doubt that the First District is feeling the pressure of an ever-changing economy, an aging workforce, and increased consolidation of farms.
We have an uphill battle in front of us, but there are no harder workers and no more creative problem solvers than our farmers, ranchers, and agriculture producers. When elected, you can count on me to be a strong voice for our community in Congress.
Strong Farm Bill
If our agricultural way of life is going to thrive well into the 21st century and beyond, we must set a course that drives toward success in an uncertain future. This means pursuing a strong Farm Bill that supports domestic agricultural production growth while promoting innovation and sustainability. It means investing in technology that allows farmers to be more efficient in their crop production, saving time and costs, while producing more than ever before. It also means giving our farmers access to capital and loan forgiveness programs so that they can continue to feed the world. It means understanding, grappling with and adjusting to the environmental impact our farms have on the soil, our communities, and future yields.
I also believe that we must inspire the next generation of farmers to follow in the footsteps of their predecessors. We know that the average age of farmers is on the rise. We can encourage growth in this field and incentivize our youth to pursue careers in agriculture by removing barriers of entry and exposing our children to the opportunity of farms. I am encouraged by leadership programs like Future Farmers of America. This organization, and the talented young people within, deserve all of the support that the public and elected officials can offer.
Transporting our goods and services to market in a global economy requires an efficient, cost effective transportation system. Inefficiency leads to higher prices for producers. Farmers and agriculture producers rely on roads, bridges, reliable freight rails, and access to barges to ensure that we are able to move commodities to reach major global markets. Investments in our transportation infrastructure, including a WRTA bill that upgrades our locks and dams, are critical to the future of the industry.