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LET Hey LSP, how about a deal over feedlots?

To the Editor I am the chief author of Governor Pawlenty's Livestock Task Force Bill. It includes the following:

1. A new low-interest livestock equip loan program offered through the Rural Finance Authority.

2. Additional road maintenance funding for counties and townships with new or expanding livestock operations.

3. Requires townships to notify the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and the Pollution Control Agency when they propose new feedlot regulations so information and technological assistance can be offered, This is identical to a requirement for counties that has been in place for about 10 years.

4. Requires a public meeting before a township adopts an interim ordinance on a livestock project.

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5. The MDA will provide training programs and technical assistance for local government officials on zoning and land use planning for animal operations funded with $100,000 per year. The highly successful Odor and Air Quality Management Research Program will be continued at the University of Minnesota with a $220,000 appropriation.

For the past several months, I have been working to make this the year that Minnesota's 20 year "Feedlot War" comes to an end, and begin a new era for Minnesota's livestock producers, an era characterized by peace, love, harmony, and acceptance of Minnesota's diverse systems of livestock production Part of this war is waged by Land Stewardship Project through one of their official programs called "Organizing Against Factory Farms."

They were part of a citizens group that prepared a competing set of recommendations to assist Minnesota livestock producers. It was called "Creating a Bright Future for Livestock Farmers in Minnesota."

In keeping with the effort to be more accepting of diverse system, I have prepared an eight page amendment that includes many of their recommendations. I have offered to amend this to the governor's nine page bill if LSP will make peace by completely suspending the "Organizing Against Factory Farms" program for at least two years.

These factory farms are almost all owned by family farmers. So far, they have not agreed. Instead it appears they want to continue to be the only farm organization in the state, and perhaps the nation, that tries to destroy the dreams of many farm families to grow their business by adopting technologically advanced production systems, earn a decent living, and keep the next generation on the farm. There is still time for Land Stewardship to make peace and for this amendment to be offered in future committee hearings.

-- Minnesota state Sen. Steve Dille

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