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Gov. Walz signs bill expanding broadband access, increasing farmer protections

Expanded broadband access is heading to rural Minnesota
Expanded broadband access is heading to rural Minnesota 05:02

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- More Minnesotans will soon have access to high-speed internet under a new bill signed into law Thursday by Gov. Tim Walz.

The bill provides $100 million to expand high-speed broadband access across the state as part of the state's goal of ensuring access for all Minnesotans.

According to state data, more than 200,000 Minnesota households didn't have access to wired broadband service with basic internet speeds last year. Most of the underserved areas are in rural communities.

The governor's office said that the investment supplements federal funding allocated to Minnesota under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The bill also includes many provisions for farmers, both current and future.

It establishes the state's first grain indemnity fund for producers with unpaid grain sales when buyers do not pay debts owed.

A pass-through grant will be provided to the Minnesota Future Farmers of America (FFA) Foundation to engage its chapters in creating "innovative education, training, or outreach projects" that promote mental health and respond to community needs.

Over a million dollars will be available as grants for farmers to help them implement soil health management practices.

Additionally, the bill will fund safety and equipment cost-share payments to farmers, stress and mental health outreach and support to farmers and others in the agricultural community.

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