Republicans and the governor’s office are working to wrap up an agriculture appropriations bill as talks continue on other areas of the state budget. Commissioner Dave Frederickson says they need more funding for ag programs. Frederickson says, “The governor’s target was around 10 million dollars. They [Republicans] came in with zero. And so I suppose, in farmer talk, if we could get somewhere in the area of five [million], we’d probably be home free.” Lead Republican negotiator, Representative Rod Hamilton from Mountain Lake says if can they agree on a final dollar amount, “we’ll have this thing wrapped up in, I said 10 minutes. Maybe that’s a little optimistic, but I think we’re very close.”
Other areas of the state budget, including K-12 and higher education, human services, transportation and taxes, will not be nearly so easy. Just over two weeks remain in the legislative session.