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Smith creates ag working group to help with farm bill

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Smith
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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tina Smith has created an Ag Working Group to help her prepare for debate on the upcoming farm bill.

The 26-member group represents the variety of interests the farm bill touches — from corn growers to the forest industry, from farmer groups to clean energy teams.

Of the 26 members, none are from southeastern Minnesota.

However, "Southeastern Minnesota is a pillar of our state's ag economy, and Sen. Smith wants to hear from families, businesses, and communities in the region about what they want to see in the next federal farm bill," Smith's communication adviser, Michael Dale-Stein, said in Feb. 9 statement.

Dale-Stein said the people on the panel are experts in each of the farm bill's 12 areas.

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Among those on the panel are Kevin Paap, president of Minnesota Farm Bureau; Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union; Matthew Fitzgerald of the Young Farmer Coalition; and LeAnn Buck of the Minnesota Associate of Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

Smith, who is on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said she hopes the advisory group "will bring together Minnesotans with a deep understanding of farm policy and how it impacts our state's producers, businesses, and communities."

Smith and the group will take comments at ag@smith.senate.gov.

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