Minnesota Ag Commissioner focuses on 2020 positives


Minnesota Ag Commissioner focuses on 2020 positives

The head of Minnesota’s Agriculture Department chooses to look at the positives when recapping 2020.

Commissioner Thom Petersen says for all the challenges over the past year, many farmers had already been struggling for the better part of a decade.

“We had five, six, seven years of down prices (and in) 2018 we had the lowest farm income in the last 23 years. 2019 we had the wettest year on record. So we turned the page into 2020 and think ‘here we go, things are going to get better.”

He tells Brownfield the culmination of trade negotiations with Canada, Mexico, and China fed that optimism.

“Things are looking up, then COVID hit in March and things just went to DEFCON 5 rapidly fast.”

Petersen says the pandemic has highlighted the importance of the food supply.

“We have a safe food supply, we have an affordable food supply. There’s some logistical challenges, but by and large our farmers kept farming (and) we had an incredible crop year in Minnesota.”

He says the combination of a bumper crop and strengthening prices has a lot of Minnesota farmers feeling optimistic going into 2021.