I am a member of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association. I received an email asking members to contact our Minnesota representatives and senators asking them to support two bills making their way through committee hearings. One is the Farmer-Neighbor Mediation Act-Agricultural Operations Nuisance Liability Protection Modification. This bill has two parts supported by the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.

The first section of the bill removes the animal units/number of animal capacity that is in current law. It has been there for 25 years. When it was passed, there were no feedlots in Minnesota larger than the threshold of the law. Today there are 1,600, including all species of livestock. The Minnesota Pork Producers look at a change in the law as a way to provide equal protection under the law regardless of size or species.

The second part of the bill is related to the Farmer-Neighbor Mediation Act. Minnesota has long supported the Farm Credit Mediation that has served as an avenue to talk about solutions and restructure debt before having a loan go into collection or foreclosure. The Farm-Neighbor Mediation Act uses the structure already built for Farm Credit Mediation as an alternative to the traditional legal systems for addressing potential nuisance cases before going to district court. Mediation would have to be pursued before a case could be filed in district court.

The other bill supported by the Minnesota Pork Producers Association pertains to Environmental Assessment Worksheet Modification. The modification includes changing the animal units threshold for mandatory EAWs from 1,000 animal units to 2,000 animal units. This modification is a way to reward farms for choosing environmentally sound locations for new barns and having good relationships with neighbors.

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