Walz considering direct payments to Minnesota farmers

Minnesota Ag Commissioner Thom Petersen says his state could follow Wisconsin’s lead by taking money from the CARES Act to provide direct payments to farmers.

He tells Brownfield the Coronavirus Food Assistance Relief Program is leaving holes that need to be filled.

“We’re working with groups in our state. Dairy actually came out pretty well (in the CFAP program). But we’re also looking at would it be better to do some infrastructure in meat processing, ethanol (and) E15 infrastructure. Do some things that would help pay out on the long end.”

Last week Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers told Brownfield $50 million of the $1.9 billion the state received from the CARES Act would be used for direct payments to farmers.

Petersen says a similar plan might not make sense in Minnesota.

“We’re trying to look at this in balance and look at the needs. We also unfortunately have to pay for depopulation, where Wisconsin was not hit that hard in that sense. So we’re looking at all kinds of options.”

Minnesota pork and turkey producers have been euthanizing healthy animals because of processing backups related to COVID-19.

Petersen made these comments Thursday during a Farm Forum program on Brownfield affiliate KDUZ in Hutchinson, Minnesota.

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