Family Farms & Rural Economy
The family farm is the backbone of our rural economy. Yet, the family farmer is being buffeted on all sides by forces beyond operators’ control:
- High healthcare premiums for the individual insurance market
- Competition from large agribusinesses which can accept lower prices due to economies of scale
- Trade wars
- Decreasing subsidies for biofuels due to changing political winds
- Immigration issues, impacting availability of farm labor
- Deficient rural broadband, hurting the efficiency of operations, the ability to sell crops, the ability for the spouse to telecommute and ability of students to access education while working on the farm.
- Succession issues.
- Property tax issues.
Between 2013 and 2017, Minnesota alone lost 800 farms. We are losing not just farms, but a way of life. Family farms feed rural areas with more than food; they preserve a culture of self sufficiency and family heritage. They support local businesses. Family farmers are caretakers of our soil and water.
As your representative in St. Paul, I support a health care system that has a broad network of providers at a reasonable cost. I will work to expand broadband access in our district. I support expansion of rural mental health programs. And I will work with the many farm groups to keep communications open between the legislature and the farmers in our area.
Connect with Barbara to share your ideas and concerns.