ST. PAUL — Michael Walgrave of Rock County is one of 17 Minnesotans appointed to a legislatively created Emerging Farmers’ Working Group through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to help shape the future of farming in the state.

“Many Minnesotans are interested in agriculture and looking for a pathway to succeed at farming, only to encounter numerous barriers when entering the field,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said.

The group’s purpose is to advise the MDA and Minnesota Legislature on ways to advance the success and sustainability of farmers who traditionally face barriers to the resources necessary to build profitable ag businesses. Emerging Farmers are defined as women, veterans, persons with disabilities, American Indian/Alaskan Native, communities of color, young, and urban farmers.

The MDA convened six listening sessions throughout Minnesota in 2019. The findings of those listening sessions recommended the creation of a working group to provide guidance to Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen and the Minnesota Legislature on developing programs and initiatives to support emerging farmers in Minnesota.

The working group’s first meeting is from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday via Webex. Members of the public are welcome and public comments can be made through the chat box.

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