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'Thank you for everything': Officials credit Minnesota ag leaders for keeping food chain running during pandemic

Policymakers credited farmers and food producers for preventing a backlog in food supply chains as the pandemic bore down on Minnesota.

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz spoke to attendees at the Agrigrowth Ag and Food Summit in Minneapolis on Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021, and credited the state's agribusinesses with sustaining the food supply during the pandemic. Dana Ferguson / Forum News Service

MINNEAPOLIS — State and federal officials on Thursday, Nov. 4, offered their appreciation to Minnesota farmers and food industry workers that kept supply chains humming amid the pandemic.

Back in person for the first Agrigrowth Ag and Food Summit since COVID-19 bore down on the state, Gov. Tim Walz harkened back to the early days of the pandemic, when experts warned about the food chain slowing to a halt. Despite those dire predictions, producers around the state found ways to adapt and to continue even though they faced challenges, he said.

And Walz told the industry leaders that their resilience could help solve future problems around food access, climate change and other pressing issues.

“Every time a door would be shut, the folks in this room would figure out new and innovative ways to solve the problems we were seeing,” Walz said. " The success of keeping the supply chain open, the production of food was nothing short of reasons to stop and celebrate and so many people in this room helped that happen."

U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jennifer Lester Moffitt also offered up her appreciation to the group and said the Biden Administration was working to approve billions of dollars in funding to address vulnerabilities in the food supply chain.

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“In case no one has said it to you yet, thank you for everything you have done in these past 19 months to get food to the people who need it,” Moffitt said.

Moffitt said measures proposed in the Build Back Better plan would help small and medium-sized supply facilities compete, more clearly brand American beef and dairy and boost the country's protein processing capacity. The funding could help create a more even playing field for smaller businesses and increase equity in agriculture and food processing.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com

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