The caucus primer to the right can be downloaded in PDF form here: LSAF 2020 Caucus Primer
Here are the LSP resolutions for members and LSAF supporter to propose at the 2020 Caucuses. For printable PDF form, click here.
Farm Advocates and FLAG (Agriculture)
Be it resolved that the Minnesota Legislature and Governor take immediate action on the farm crisis by substantially increasing the base funding of and doubling the staffing of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Farm Advocates Program, as well as granting $400,000 to the Farmer’s Legal Action Group.
The economic crisis in agriculture impacts small- and mid-sized farms across a wide spectrum. The control of markets across the board — corn, soybeans, pork, beef, dairy, vegetables, credit, inputs, etc. — by a few major multinational corporations allows these corporations to exercise their plans for maximizing their own profits and economic power to the detriment of farmers, consumers, rural communities, and the land. Hundreds of small and mid-sized farms are going out of business each year. The situation is urgent and calls for action now.
We can and must build a new farm economy. As we do this, we need to address the immediate needs of farmers, which the Farm Advocates program and FLAG help with. The Farm Advocates program and FLAG keep small and mid-sized farm operations in business by letting them know their rights when faced with foreclosure, assisting in mediations and negotiations with lenders, and providing critical guides and resources.
Be it resolved that the Minnesota Legislature and Governor take bold action to ensure that every person in Minnesota is easily able to get all medical care they need without worrying about cost, beginning by expanding MinnesotaCare so that this high-quality public program is an option available to all Minnesotans.
As Minnesotans, we care for each other and value communities where everyone has the freedom to have a meaningful, healthy life. But in our rural communities, we are experiencing unaffordable health insurance premiums and deductibles, while hospitals and clinics are closing, and services cut. At the same time, we see major hospital systems and insurance companies posting large profits. Our current healthcare system is not making sure everyone can get the care they need.
We call on the Minnesota Legislature and Governor to pass a moratorium on issuing permits for construction of any massive dairies over 1,000 animal units until the price depressing effects of the overproduction are addressed including the water pollution threats posed by these large operations to people and our environment.
Factory farm dairies of this magnitude pose serious risks for our rural communities, our health, our climate and our environment. They push family farmers off the land. The overproduction of these large dairies has had a depressing effect on prices and profitability, driving hundreds of farmers out of business year after year. Minnesota lost 300 dairy farmers last year. Fewer farmers on the land also leads to depressed rural economies.
Be it resolved that the Minnesota Legislature and Governor provide $12 million per biennium in long-term base funding to the University of Minnesota’s Forever Green Initiative that is developing profitable perennial and winter annual groups that build soil health, clean our water, and sequester carbon.
As Minnesota farmers continue to battle extreme weather and climate change, floods and drought, and unpredictable and low paying markets, building resilient and profitable cropping systems is more needed now than ever.
Forever Green, an initiative at the University of Minnesota, is developing cover crops and perennial crops that thrive in our climate, decrease erosion, build soil health, suppress weeds, control pests and diseases, improve water quality, and more. Some of these crops can be grazed as well. The program is also developing profitable markets for these crops, which include Minnesota-based companies and local small businesses.
We call on the Minnesota Legislature and Governor to advance bold climate solutions that match the scale and timeline of what we need, by: (1) developing a true-cost-accounting program to transform our extractive, fragile, and unprofitable agricultural system into a regenerative, resilient, and thriving agricultural system that prioritizes investing in small and mid-sized farms; and (2) facilitating an economically and racially-just clean energy transition that creates living-wage jobs, develops local rural economies, and keeps wealth in local communities.
Stewardship of the planet and of future generations requires us to act. Agriculture has great potential to help stabilize the climate by transitioning to regenerative and sustainable farming practices — like cover cropping and managed rotational grazing of livestock — that take carbon out of the atmosphere and protect water quality while using fewer fossil fuels. Additionally, we know that we must one of the greatest threats to our climate is extreme energy extraction and the use of fossil fuels. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we must do so in a way that is just for people of color and indigenous people, low-income communities, farmers, and rural communities. New energy systems must profit local communities and foster thriving rural economies.
We call on our elected and appointed officials to take bold action dismantle racial, gender, and economic injustice in our democracy, institutions, and public programs.
Racism, patriarchy, and economic injustice are powerful structural barriers that stand in the way of achieving strong rural, suburban, and urban communities in our state. For example, land access and secure land tenure are essential components for creating economic, racial and gender justice, in part because land ownership is a critical vehicle for securing and passing on wealth in our society. Yet, the taking of land from indigenous people and the historical denial of land access and tenure for people of color, women, and small farmers is central to the generations of economic, racial, and gender inequity in U.S. society. Structural racism also upholds this tiered and unjust food system, from immigration and labor laws to the price of food and access to land. We cannot move forward justly without comprehensively dismantling and addressing these injustices.