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Three area residents named to ag task force

From staff reports

Three agribusiness people from southeastern Minnesota will join commissioners from state agencies on a task force to assess the health of Minnesota's livestock industry.

Named late to the 14-member Livestock Advisory Task Force were Dana Allen, a manager at Gar-Lin Dairy Farms in rural Eyota; Lisa Heggedahl, a beef producer from the Hayfield area and member of the state's Rural Finance Authority; and Joe Swedberg, vice president of legislative affairs and marketing services for Hormel Foods Corp. in Austin.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty cited declines in dairy cows and milk production during the past decade when he announced the creation of the task force last month.

"We need to focus on what's driving livestock farmers out and what we can do to reverse that trend," he said before the annual meeting of the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council.

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The task force will make recommendations to support growth of livestock-related businesses in the state, according to a news release.

Allen represents southeastern Minnesota on the board of directors for the Minnesota Milk Producers Association and also is a member of the Southeast Agriculture Alliance.

Heggedahl is a member of the Minnesota Farmers Union and the Minnesota State Angus Association.

Swedberg is Hormel's primary lobbyist for the Legislature. He also is a director of the Agri-Growth Council and is on the board of directors for the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

Co-chairmen of the task force are Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson and Commissioner Matt Kramer of the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Sheryl Corrigan of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and Charles Muscoplat, dean of the University of Minnesota's College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences, also are on the panel.

Also on the task force are representatives from the hog and turkey-producing industries, three major agricultural cooperatives, AgStar Financial Services and the Minnesota Farm Bureau.

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