Agriculture was part of the debate in the final minutes of the Minnesota legislative session. The omnibus agriculture finance bill was posted about 30 minutes before the midnight deadline, giving lawmakers little time to read the 110-page conference report. Faced with a ticking clock, House Speaker Melissa Hortman pushed forward on the legislation. “We were trying to make sure there was secure funding for the Agriculture Department,” said Hortman. “Our constitutional authority ends at midnight on May 20 and so I felt an obligation to fund absolutely as many components of state government as we could.” The bill was ultimately tabled, but House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt is upset with the entire process. “We were actually notified about the bill’s posting after it had passed the Senate; there was no time to read this bill and we also found out the conference committee didn’t meet publicly; the public had no input; they just simply signed the report and filed the report for us to take up.” The Minnesota conference committee report on agriculture includes $500,000 for rapid detection, control and management of high-priority plant pests, including soybean aphids. With the introduction of Palmer amaranth, the bill includes $900,000 in additional funding for noxious and invasive weed programs. The Agriculture Research, Education, Extension and Technology Transfer account includes funding for Minnesota’s rapid response fund to take action if a situation like a foreign animal disease is identified in the state. The dairy industry gets a shot in the arm with special grants for Minnesota dairy farmers who enroll in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage program. The bill includes $5 million for the proposed soybean crush and biodiesel plant in Crookston. For the biennium, the ag finance bill includes $100,00 for farm and rural mental health services.