A bill on the house floor has been introduced to provide 250-thousand dollars in 2019 for a rural economic development study in southern Minnesota.

House Representative Clark Johnson (D-North Mankato) is authoring the legislation that would help formulate research before Greater Mankato Growth’s GreenSeam initiative takes some larger steps.

“GreenSeam, we’ve watched it develop over the last few years from a concept and an idea to something that’s emerging and really working full steam. Really helping out agriculture throughout the region and all its forums and all the services associated with it. That’s the key to our economic development going forward. The economy of southern Minnesota is built on agriculture.”

Rep. Clark Johnson

The findings of the study and policy recommendations will be directed back to the legislature as the focus will be on economic development, workforce and the best opportunities in agriculture.

“But also I think you find and look for what are obstacles, what can keep this from happening. What can keep us from better taking advantage of our agricultural economy. I think a study that would do basically that sort of work would give us the idea of where to move in the next step.”

Johnson adds that he hopes to have a hearing on the issue and be able to provide the funding in a year where there is a large budget surplus in Minnesota.

“Whenever we can add value to the crop, right here, that adds to the economy of the entire region. There continue to be opportunities and new opportunities emerging to add value to the products we produce.”

If funding were approved, the study would be finalized in January of 2020.