2023 Minnesota Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Legislature Adjourns the 2023 Regular Session

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The Minnesota House and Senate dropped the gavel on the 2023 session late Monday (May 22) night and adjourned on time for the first time in ten years. This was due at least in part to the fact the DFL had complete control of state government. Democrats laid out an ambitious agenda at the beginning of the session and almost seemed to surprise themselves that they accomplished so much.

“I was like, oh, holy buckets we’re setting expectations really high,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Because what I wanted to do was under-promise and over-deliver. And I feel like that is what we did.”

Republican legislators may agree the 2023 session was historic, but not that it was a good thing. They pointed to burdensome regulations and massive tax increases all while the state had the largest surplus in history.

“As we congratulate and pat each other on the back for what is an unprecedented, explosive amount of government spending in our state, what does that mean for the future of Minnesota?” Rep. Pat Garofalo, R – Farmington, asked.  “What we are seeing right now in the state of Minnesota is an unprecedented migration of people, wealth, and investment out of our state to other communities.”

MPPA was able to exclude the pork industry from many of the most burdensome regulations proposed this session and even provide some property tax relief in the Tax bill. Here is a run-down on some of the top issues that MPPA followed this session:

Ag Homestead Expansion – This bill would expand the current valuation limit for an Ag Homestead from $2.7 million to $3.5 million. While it would vary widely across the state, the average homestead would increase by about 80 acres and farmers would pay the much lower .5% rate on those acres. The purpose of this legislation is to try to keep up with what a commercially-viable farm looks like. The bill was heard in the Senate Tax Committee and was included in the final Tax Bill.

Capital Gains Tax – Governor Walz proposed a new tax on investment income over $1 million when he released his budget recommendations in January, but neither the House or Senate discussed the topic until the final days of the Tax Conference Committee. When the Senate said they were dropping their proposal on the world-wide reporting tax, this Walz provision was brought back to fill the revenue hole in the target. We were able to get agricultural land sales excluded from this tax at the last minute.

Board of Animal Health – The Board of Animal Health(BAH) was a frequent topic of the 2023 legislative session. Legislation was introduced and heard in the House Ag Committee that would have completely transformed the make-up of the Board and taken away all expertise requirements. The bill would also make the State Veterinarian an appointee of the Governor instead of being hired by the Board. There was no companion language introduced or heard in the Senate. The final language in the Omnibus Ag Bill added one additional licensed veterinarian to the Board and requires one of the three licensed veterinarians have expertise in companion animals.

There was also language included in the Omnibus Environment Bill that transfers the jurisdiction over regulating farmed white tailed deer from the BAH to the DNR.

Financial Assurances for Feedlot Permits – This bill would require any feedlot project over 1,000 animal units provide the “financial assurances” for abandonment upfront before the permit could be approved. This would cause a significant financial hardship for livestock producers across the state for a problem that doesn’t exist. The PCA has stated that there are no abandoned feedlots over 1,000 animal units. This bill is included in the House Environment Budget bill, but was removed by an amendment on the House Floor due to objections from rural DFL members.  It was not heard in the Senate or included in the Senate Environment bill and did not pass.

Recreation of the PCA Citizens Board – A proposal to bring back the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency(MPCA) Citizen Board moved through the legislature this session. This bill would recreate the Board and give them final authority of the approval of all permitting at the MPCA. The Citizen Board was abolished after the 2015 session, when many legislators felt they were overstepping by denying permits based on activism rather than the merits of the application. This bill is included in the House Environment Budget bill, but was removed by an amendment on the House Floor due to objections from rural DFL members. It was heard in the Senate State Government Committee, but not included in the Senate Environment bill. This legislation did not pass.

Cumulative Effects – A large portion of the various bills dealing with “environmental justice” have to do with measuring and regulating the cumulative effects of pollution in environmental justice areas. These bills are not new, but have been greatly expanding this session. The MPCA Commissioner would have to take these cumulative effects into account before issuing a permit, but a lot of questions remain as to what that exactly means. This bill was heard and included in both the House and Senate Environment bills, but with some significant differences. The final version of this legislation that was included in the Omnibus Environment bill only applies to major air permits and only to permits located in the seven-county metro area.

Odor Regulation – Legislation looking to regulate “offensive odor” was heard in the House Environment Committee and included in the House Environment Bill. This language will require the MPCA and a permit holder to take extensive action to mitigate odor if ten people submit a complaint to the Department. The final language in the Omnibus Environment Bill exempts farms and only applies to permits in the seven-county metro area.

Minnesota Pork Names Director of Communications, Director of Public Policy Strategy and Sustainability

Mankato, MN – The Minnesota Pork Producers Association (MPPA) has announced Bailey Ruen as the new director of communications and has promoted Lauren Servick as director of public policy strategy and sustainability.

Ruen Named Director of Communications  

As director of communications, Ruen leads image and public relations strategies to build trust in Minnesota’s more than 3,000 family pig farmers. Her responsibilities include developing digital content, video, audio and print media, website management, and external media relations.

“On behalf of the Minnesota Pork Board of Directors and staff, I am excited to announce the addition of Bailey Ruen to the Minnesota Pork team,” said Jill Resler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Board and Minnesota Pork Producers Association. “Bailey’s desire to serve Minnesota pig farmers, her communication background, and agrarian roots will serve our industry well as we continue to build trust in Minnesota’s family pig farmers.”

Ruen’s passion for the industry began while growing up on her family’s pig and crop farm near Lanesboro, Minnesota. She is a 2022 University of Minnesota graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communication and Marketing. She has most recently been employed as an associate account executive at agricultural marketing agency, Curious Plot.

Servick Promoted to Director of Public Policy Strategy and Sustainability

Servick has been promoted to director of public policy strategy and sustainability, where she’ll lead the development of public policy strategy and sustainability efforts.

“Lauren’s demonstrated experience in the sustainability and public policy arenas will be invaluable as we continue to defend Minnesota pig farmer’s permission to operate,” said Resler. “Her passion to serve Minnesota pig farmers in a dynamic and complex operating environment is unmatched – we are fortunate to have Lauren on the team as we work to ensure opportunities for future generations of pig farmers in Minnesota.”

Servick joined the MPPA as director of communications and marketing in January 2017, later becoming more involved in public policy efforts. Servick most recently served as the director of marketing and public policy engagement since June 2018.

Ruen’s first day on staff was April 25. She can be reached at bailey@mnpork.com.

Servick can be reached at lauren@mnpork.com.

Bailey Ruen

Bailey Ruen, Director of Communications


Lauren Servick, Director of Public Policy Strategy and Sustainability

Minnesota Pork Consolidates to One Board of Directors

Joint Black LogoAs part of Minnesota Pork’s 2021 Strategic Planning session, together the MPB and MPPA board members directed the formation of a taskforce to consider structuring our organizational leadership so that a joint board of directors oversaw the work of the voluntary membership organization and mandatory checkoff organization. That taskforce met and provided a recommendation to each board of directors leading to an advisement encouraging the board of directors to take all steps necessary to transition to a single board governing both the MPB and the MPPA.

The primary purpose of the advisement is to combine the two separate boards of directors into one consolidated board that will oversee the management of the two organizations. The taskforce and boards believe these changes will improve the efficiency and reduce administrative and overhead expenses while continuing to maintain the two organizations as separate entities.

Prior to the Minnesota Pork Congress, the MPPA and MPB entered a Joint Session together on February 20, 2023, to consider amendments to each organization’s bylaws which included changes to the structure of the boards of directors. Motions were approved by both organizations to adopt the amendments and eligible voting members of each organization proceeded to elect the executive board of directors: Daryl Timmerman, President; Todd Selvik, Vice-President; and Dr. Abbie Redalen, Secretary.

Jill Resler Named Minnesota Pork CEO

JillMankato, MN – The Minnesota Pork Producers Association (MPPA) announces Jill Resler will be the organization’s next CEO, effective immediately. Resler has held multiple roles in her 13-year tenure with Minnesota Pork, most recently serving as chief operating officer (COO) and interim CEO. Resler, a Minnesota-native, brings significant experience leading programs to promote pork and advocating for the state’s more than 3,000 family pig farmers.

Resler proceeds longtime CEO, David Preisler, who led the organization for 28 years.

“After a national, farmer-led search process, we’re excited to announce Jill Resler as our next CEO. Jill has demonstrated a passion for the pork industry, skilled leadership as a visionary, and has unmatched organizational skills; she is deeply respected by Minnesota pig farmers and partners inside and out of the pork industry.  Jill has the leadership, foresight, integrity, and work ethic to be successful as our next CEO,” says John Anderson, MPPA President and farmer from Belgrade, Minnesota.  

Resler joined the MPPA staff as Director of Producer Outreach in May 2009 working closely with pig farmers and industry stakeholders leading grassroots engagement. She also served as Director of Education where she led efforts to develop the pork industry’s critical human capital. Since 2017, she has served as COO overseeing Minnesota Pork Checkoff programs and staff development.

“It is a privilege and an honor to have been chosen as the next CEO of the Minnesota Pork Board and Minnesota Pork Producers Association. As CEO, I look forward to working alongside a talented and dedicated team and exceptional producer leaders to move our industry forward,” Resler says. “I have spent my career listening to, understanding, and advocating for farmers. I look forward to deepening relationships with our farmers and continuing to build collaborative partnerships while investing in and developing the next generation.”

Resler was raised on a farm in Southwest Minnesota where she still actively farms with her family on their row crop and cattle farm. She’s a 2009 graduate of South Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Communications, Education and Leadership. Resler currently lives with her husband and three daughters on their livestock and row crop farm in rural Owatonna.

Wolters, Stevermer, and Malakowsky Lead National Pork Producers Council

From the National Pork Producers Council

Terry LoriLOUISVILLE, KY, March 11, 2022 – The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) today installed new officers and elected members to its board of directors at its annual business meeting — the National Pork Industry Forum — held here.

Terry Wolters of Pipestone, Minnesota, was elevated to president of the organization for 2022-2023. Wolters owns Stoney Creek Farms, which consists of several sow farms, and is a partner in the Pipestone System. He also is a member of Wholestone Farms and is active in the Pipestone County Pork Producers Association, Minnesota Pork Producers Association, South Dakota Pork Producers Council and the Minnesota Farm Bureau. He is chairman of NPPC’s Animal Health Food Security Policy Committee.

Wolters takes over from Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa, who becomes NPPC immediate past president and chairman of the council’s trade and nominating committees.

Scott Hays of Monroe City, Missouri, became NPPC president-elect. He is a fifth-generation pork producer and the CEO of Two Mile Pork, LLC. He is chairman of NPPC’s Competitive Markets Committee and active on the Missouri Pork Association board and committees, Missouri Corn Growers, Missouri Farm Bureau, Missouri Agricultural Leaders of Tomorrow, Monroe City FFA and Missouri Institute of Cooperatives.

The NPPC board of directors elected Lori Stevermer as vice president. Lori is co-owner of Trail’s End Farm in Easton, Minnesota, where she served on the executive board of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association. Stevermer has a history of advocating for the pork industry at the local, state and national levels.

Pat Hord of Ohio and Dwight Mogler of Iowa were elected as new members of the board, and Lori Stevermer of Minnesota and Russ Vering of Nebraska were each reelected to another three-year term. Steve Malakowsky of Wells, Minnesota, with Compeer Financial, was elected to a two-year term as the allied industry representative. They join current directors Craig Andersen of Centerville, South Dakota; Rob Brenneman of Washington, Iowa; Jason Brester of Sioux City, Iowa; Bob Ivey of Goldsboro, North Carolina; Dr. Jeremy Pittman of Waverly, Virginia; Jeb Stevens of Osgood, Indiana; and Duane Stateler of McComb, Ohio.

For NPPC’s nominating committee, Curt Zehr of Illinois was reelected, and Bill Knapke of Ohio was elected to the panel. Both will serve two-year terms.

“We have great leadership in Terry, Scott and Lori,” said NPPC CEO Bryan Humphreys. “Along with the board, including our new members, they will represent the interests of pork producers and the organization very well.”

Additionally, delegates at the meeting approved resolutions affirming the recommendations of the Pork Industry Taskforce.