Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is continuing his efforts to build a Better Minnesota. The Dayton Administration is taking note of what has been accomplished so far while still considering the work that is yet to be done.
One important component of building a Better Minnesota is supporting a clean and healthy environment. Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 lakes and a state where people care about the health and integrity of our natural resources. A healthy environment is central to the quality of life that all Minnesotans enjoy, and a crucial component in the success of our economy. Governor Dayton is committed to protecting and improving our natural resources, and leaving a legacy of clean water, cleaner air, and better parks and trails for future generations of Minnesotans.
For years, the Minnesota River has been considered one of the most polluted rivers in the state. But collaborative efforts across agencies have made important progress toward improving the health of the river.
Recent testing from the Pollution Control Agency showed marked improvements in dissolved oxygen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll levels. That means conditions have improved to support the health of fish and aquatic species populations in the river.
More work must be done to reduce sediment, bacteria, nutrients, and other contaminants in the river. But the work of over 40 wastewater treatment plants and other clean up efforts have put the Minnesota River on the path to recovery.
Employment Resource Team from the National Guard, with the help of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), traveled to Kuwait in March 2012 in order to provide workshops and job search assistance for 1,080 soldiers from 10 different states
Two years into his administration, Governor Dayton continues to make crucial progress towards building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished over the last two years and considering the work ahead.
One important measure of that progress is improving the condition of Minnesota’s economy. Governor Dayton is focused on getting Minnesotans back to work by creating opportunities for all Minnesotans. A successful economy requires strong business growth, a skilled workforce and employment opportunities for everyone.
Helping Minnesota veterans find employment opportunity has been a high priority for Governor Dayton. So when an employment survey of Minnesota National Guard soldiers serving in Kuwait showed that over 900 soldiers (28%) would not have a job when they returned from combat, the Dayton Administration took action.
Following the survey, an Employment Resource Team from the National Guard, with the help of the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), traveled to Kuwait in March 2012 in order to provide workshops and job search assistance for 1,080 soldiers from 10 different states. Those efforts delivered results for hundreds of military families who may otherwise have faced the prolonged challenges of unemployment.
Of the 2,700 Minnesota soldiers returning from Kuwait last spring, only 78 are still unemployed – a 90% improvement in only four months.
The Governor's residence will have decked halls from November 27th through December 18th.
The Minnesota Governor’s Residence, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, will be open to the public for Holiday tours beginning November 27th. Following tours will be held December 4, 11 and 18 from the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day. No reservations are required; tours will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
The interior of the Beaux Arts Revival home, designed by Minneapolis architect William Channing Whitney, has been expertly decorated by seven local design studios. The holiday tour features signature looks for each of the public spaces at the Residence. The designers, from Digs Studio, Kate and Company, Linder’s, Pomegranate Design Ltd, Studio Emme, Ten Thousand Villages and Twiggs, have donated the design, materials and installation of the holiday decorations. In the Drawing Room, the live 8-foot tree was donated by Happyland Tree Farm of Sandstone, Minnesota.
On Nov. 27, the regional Citizen Forums on the Environment will begin with forums in Rochester and Bloomington.
The forums are an opportunity for Minnesotans to interact with state agency commissioners and staff, and learn more about Minnesota’s Environment & Energy Report Card. Those attending the forums will be asked to answer key questions and submit more in-depth ideas for consideration.
The State of Minnesota wants to hear what Minnesotans’ priorities and visions are for the environment. The input gathered at the forums will be compiled and presented to the Dayton Administration at a statewide Environmental Congress next March.
The Minnesota Environmental Congress and the Citizens Forums leading up to it are the result of Governor Dayton’s Executive Order 11-32. To assess Minnesota’s progress toward clean air, water and energy, the Environmental Quality Board is convening Citizen Forums around the state to engage citizens in constructive dialogue, identify environmental challenges, and define a vision for Minnesota’s environmental future.
Today, Governor Dayton, Commissioner of Agriculture Dave Frederickson, Minnesota’s Turkey Growers Association (MTGA), and Hunger Solutions Minnesota, kicked off Thanksgiving week in Minnesota at the Governor’s Office. Minnesota is currently ranked #1 for turkey production in the U.S. with its 250 turkey farmers raising an estimated 47 million turkeys in 2012. Governor Dayton, Minnesota’s turkey farmers, and Hunger Solutions Minnesota also addressed ending hunger across the state.
The event was a time-honored tradition, going back more than two decades.
President and turkey farmer Duane Jaenicke announced the donation of 11,150 pounds of turkey - a total of 1,180 whole birds - to Hunger Solutions Minnesota (HSM), which will be distributed to food shelves and food banks across the state.
Governor Dayton tours the Biotechnology Advancement Center
Governor Mark Dayton visited Worthington’s Biotechnology Advancement Center last Friday to assess opportunities and challenges to Minnesota’s agriculture sector as he continued Working for Minnesota Jobs.
While visiting the center, Governor Dayton and Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson held a roundtable talk with industry leaders, farmers, and business owners to discuss how to grow jobs in Minnesota’s farm and food sector, and to encourage continued innovation in the state’s agriculture technology industry. Following the roundtable discussion, Governor Dayton and Commissioner Frederickson took some time out of their busy schedules to tour the Center and Newport Laboratories.
After manufacturing, Minnesota’s farm and food sector is the second largest segment of the state’s economy providing more than 340,000 jobs and $75 billion in annual economic activity. More than 80 percent of those jobs are off-farm jobs in categories like transportation, finance, manufacturing, and retail.
A MinnWest employee shows off innovations to Governor Mark Dayton and Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson
Governor Mark Dayton kicked off his statewide jobs tour on Friday in Willmar, meeting with a dozen local leaders in business, government, and higher education to discuss opportunities and barriers for the state’s economic growth. The tour will continue over the next several months as Dayton meets with leaders in other Minnesota communities to solicit direct input.
Dayton began the tour in the midst of Minnesota’s recovery from one of the worst recessions in the nation’s history. The governor will use his listening tour to gather ideas on what should be done in the next legislative session to position the state for economic growth and job creation in the recession’s aftermath.
The public meeting in Willmar was held at the MinnWest Technology Campus, where businesses are working to develop new bioscience and agricultural technology with significant implications for export growth – and new jobs. The state’s agriculture and food production industry is already responsible for 4,800 jobs and $250 million in annual wages.
A new grant awarded from the FDA will ensure that Minnesota continues to lead the nation in food safety.
Minnesotans will now have new help in fighting contaminated food and food-borne illnesses that, according to the CDC, affect 1 in 6 Americans every year.
The help comes in the form of $600,000 in grant money which was awarded to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture this week by the FDA.
The money will be used to create a Minnesota Food Safety Center of Excellence which will work to: gather foodborne-illness surveillance data, provide rapid identification of pathogens, and respond effectively by removing tainted food as quickly as possible.
The three-year grants will help the Agriculture Department more quickly trace contaminated foods to grocery stores and other distribution points, and will help bolster MDA efforts to ensure that recalled products are quickly and fully withdrawn from the marketplace.
So what does this mean for the average Minnesotan?
Organic cows and calves raised at Derrydale Farms near Le Sueur, MN
Governor Dayton wants to make sure Minnesota’s organic farmers and food companies know that the Minnesota Organic Certification Cost Share Program is now taking applications.
The organic marketplace continues to grow but something you may not know is that organic farmers and food manufacturers have to “ante up” in order to access this market. They go through a verification process, called “organic certification” that provides consumer assurance that they are following all the provisions of the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Standards. And the organic operations themselves have to pay for this certification, which costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year -- depending on the size of the farm or company’s sales.
The USDA provides each state with funds to defray these costs. Organic operations are eligible for a rebate of 75% on what they spend for certification -- capped at $750 per certificate or type of certification they have. For example, dairy farmers pay to have both their crops and animals certified, so their maximum payment is $1,500.