Corporate Farming Law Task Force
Function: The task force must examine current and projected impacts of corporate, partnership, and limited liability company farming enterprises on the economic, social, and environmental conditions and structures of rural Minnesota. Their study should consider probable impacts on both agriculture related and nonagricultural businesses in rural communities. Issues of nonpoint source pollution and other environmental issues must also be considered. The task force shall also examine the issue of responsibility for potential pollution damage.
The corporate farming law task force was required to report to the legislature by February 15, 1995,on the findings of its study. The report was to include recommendations for improvements in Minnesota Statutes that were in the best interests of production agriculture in the state and the economic, environmental, and social environment and preservation of the family farm.
In 1994, Minnesota law generally precluded corporations from owning farm land or operating a farming enterprise. Corporate farming law had been developed over a period of 14 decades, and the development included numerous changes to accommodate shifting priorities in agriculture and a recognition that the economic and social climate of the state was not static. There was a concern over whether current corporate farming law, especially as it related to the breeding and raising of swine, represented the appropriate balance between protection of family farms and opportunity for creative new enterprise structures organized by multiple farmers.
It was believed that farmers wished to support a corporate farming law that was in the overall best interest of production agriculture and preservation of the family farm unit as the main component of the agricultural economy in the state. The study, legislative report, and legislative recommendations authorized by 1994 Minn. Laws Chap. 622 Sec. 6 was intended to increase public and legislative understanding of the issues involved.
The task force was required to hold at least four public hearings on the issue of corporate farming law and the impacts of other potential legal structures of farming operations, with specific emphasis on appropriate regulation of business structures involved in swine breeding and raising. At least three of the hearings were to be held in greater Minnesota.
The corporate farming law task force was to expire 45 days after submission of the report and recommendations or on May 15, 1995, whichever date was earlier.
As of 1995, 10 members: Senator Joe Bertram, Sr. (Chair); Senator Charles A. Berg; Senator Steve Dille; Senator Steven Morse; Representative Doug Peterson (Co-Chair); Representative Gene Hugoson; Representative Andy Steensma; Representative Steve Wenzel; Dr. Ben Senauer; Mr. Curtis Watson.
Note: Representative Steensma was not re-elected in November, 1994. No replacement was appointed by the House of Representatives for the term beginning January 3, 1995.
Representative Wenzel appointed state Representative Marvin Dauner as his representative on the task force.
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