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Minnesota Farmers Union says Ag program cuts coming in 2012 Farm Bill

MINNEAPOLIS - The 2012 farm bill and the elimination of the Minnesota Homestead Tax Credit will be among the issues discussed here this weekend at the 70th annual convention of the Minnesota Farmers Union.

These and other serious issues face farmers, says Minnesota Farmers Union president Doug Peterson.

"The policy discussions, because the Minnesota Farmers Union is a grassroots-based organization, really deal with the farm policy that farmers have to work with every day. Whether it's a piece of regulation, whether it's grain trading, whether it's diary prices, farm bill."

Farmers know cuts will be coming with the farm bill, Peterson says, but how much and to which programs is unclear as the debt-reduction "super-committee" continues to work on a plan to eliminate more than $1 trillion from the U.S. budget.

As for the new farm bill, Peterson says people are frustrated because very little is known about what's happening behind the super-committee's closed doors. Peterson is hoping the process is fair.

"We understand that we've shouldered more cuts already than any other program. That's farmers and ranchers, through the farm bill currently, have shouldered more cuts than any program so far under the scrutiny of the budget ax."

Another big topic of discussion, Peterson says, will be the Minnesota Homestead Tax Credit. The long-time credit provided some property tax relief for 95 percent of homeowners for years, but was eliminated as part of last year's budget deal. Peterson says a lot of people still don't know that.

"I've been at a lot of county meetings throughout the whole state, from Morrison County down to Houston County to Lac qui Parle County to Hubbard County and all over the state of Minnesota. Very few homeowners and property owners know much about the loss of homestead credit, so it's going to be a big deal."

A resolution calling on the state Legislature to reinstate the credit is expected to be approved by the delegates this weekend, Peterson says.