ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Minnesota's food, farming and ag-related interests are working together again this year in an even more aggressive effort to elevate voter and legislative candidate awareness and generate broader support for state policies that will protect and grow Minnesota's second largest industry. This broad-based voter engagement campaign is being managed through an umbrella organization called A Greater Minnesota (AGM) and is intended to develop support for key issues to help Minnesota gain a competitive advantage in the global food economy, which supports nearly 400,000 jobs in both the Twin Cities and throughout Greater Minnesota.
AGM, which was originally launched in 2014, is asking 2016 candidates for the Minnesota House and Senate to commit to a progressive GROW MN FOOD Plan to support key farm, ag and food issues. The Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association, the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the Minnesota Milk Producers Association, the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association, the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, and various other Minnesota farm and food entities support the AGM coalition.
The GROW MN FOOD Plan requests that legislative candidates commit to policies that support all good farms (large or small, rural or urban, conventional or organic); more research for better food and improved farm practices; smarter regulation to make Minnesota more competitive with other states; economic, workforce and transportation policies to help rural Minnesota grow; and strategies to address issues of water quality.
Minnesota farmers, agribusiness and food producers play an essential role in the state's economy and are largely responsible for the quality food consumed on a daily basis. The market value of food and farm products sold in Minnesota each year is about $21.3 billion, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture's Census of Agriculture. Additionally, as the state's second largest economic sector, jobs provided by the farm and food sector employ hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.
"Our state's farm and food sector faces real challenges from the political and policy arenas," said David Preisler, executive director of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association. "To ensure the farm and food sector remains strong and is able to grow now and into the future, we need our legislators to support common sense policies that are outlined in the GROW MN FOOD Plan."
AGM encourages Minnesota residents to visit www.farmandfoodmn.org to learn more about the farm and food sector and how everyone has a vested interest in its vitality. The website also allows voters to find out how their legislative candidates responded to the GROW MN FOOD Plan and provides easy tools that they can use to contact their candidates. Candidate responses from all 134 House districts and 67 Senate districts are being posted to the AGM website. Voters are encouraged to contact candidates to express their views on the GROW MN FOOD Plan.
"Candidates for the Minnesota Legislature, both incumbents and challengers, have the opportunity to declare their support for progressive policies that are essential to the strength of our state's food and farm sector," said Perry Aasness, executive director of Minnesota AgriGrowth Council. "We encourage all State House and Senate candidates to commit to the GROW MN FOOD Plan and assure voters they are ready to be a strong partner of Minnesota's farm and food sector."
SOURCE A Greater Minnesota