Emerging Farmers Listening Session in Rochester

The goal of the 'Emerging Farmers Task Force' will be to figure out solutions so the state can increase the number of diverse farmers.

Posted: Dec 12, 2019 6:50 AM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Farmers have it tough, whether it be the ongoing trade war with China, soaring supply costs, or unpredictable weather.

The final Emerging Farmer Listening Session took place in Rochester Wednesday afternoon. Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan joined the conversation about the challenge today's farmers face.

In a room filled with a diverse group of agriculture stakeholders, one central theme was discussed - the idea of an 'emerging farmer.'

Robin Fruth-Dugstad is on the horticulture faculty at Rochester Community and Technical College. She joined the discussion to learn more about the future of the industry.

"Population is growing," Fruth-Dugstad said, "so we have to figure out how we're going to feed our increasing population with our limited amount of land that we have."

Lt. Gov. Flanagan has a seat at the table to make the argument for diversity.

"I think we have 985 farmers in the state of Minnesota who are people of color or indigenous farmers," Flanagan said. "We want that number to grow. It's important to us that the agricultural industry reflects the community it seeks to represent."

People in attendance were asked to fill out a survey.

Flanagan said the next step will be to compile the information into a report and move forward with the proposal to create an 'Emerging Farmer Task Force.' The goal of that task force will be to figure out solutions so the state can increase the number of diverse farmers.

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