Applications Now Being Accepted for 2019 Industrial Hemp Pilot Program

Applications to grow and process hemp in 2019 are now being accepted by the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.  The application forms, fees, and full instructions on how to apply can be found at the MDA’s website.

There are two different applications and licenses for the 2019 season–one for growers and one for processors.  Please check the fee schedule on the website; it has changed for 2019. The application process is not competitive and does not close.


Contact Margaret Wiatrowski

(651) 201-6123

Solar Factory on the Iron Range

It’s fun to see what’s happening in other parts of Minnesota. MPR reports

Mountain Iron, Minn., bills itself as the “taconite capital of the world.” It’s home to Minntac, the nation’s largest iron ore mine.

Now the town of fewer than 3,000 has something else to boast about: the opening of the state’s only solar panel factory, and the first to open in the U.S. in 2018.

Heliene opened its first solar panel plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, eight years ago. Now, it’s investing more than $18 million to get a 25,000 square foot factory up and running on the Iron Range, after another manufacturer abandoned it last year.

President Martin Pochtaruk gets asked all the time, “Why Mountain Iron?” His answer, he said, is always the same.

“Why not? The same question was asked to me when we started a factory in Sault Ste. Marie. It is a place in need of industrial diversification. It’s a place with viable labor.”

All you ever needed to know about the new MN Real ID

The Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services has everything you might need to know about the real ID. Here are some of the highlights…

Minnesotans May Apply for REAL ID in October; Not Required Until 2020

Beginning in October you’ll be able to apply for a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license or identification card, but you don’t need to rush out and get one right away. You’ll have two years to obtain one, if you choose.

Minnesotans will be able to use their standard driver’s licenses and ID cards for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights, until October 2020.

Because you don’t need to take any action to comply with federal REAL ID law at this time, state officials suggest you wait to apply unless you need to change your name or address, or renew your current license.

Learn more about the status of REAL ID in Minnesota in this news release
And some details…
5 Things to Know about REAL ID and the New Driver’s License/ID Card Design

The new Minnesota driver’s license and ID card design has people wondering about REAL ID. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. The newly designed cards being issued now are not REAL IDs.

  2. You do not need to take any action at this time to comply with the federal REAL ID law.

  3. You will be able to apply for a REAL ID-compliant card in October 2018, but you will have two years to obtain one if you choose. That means you will be able to use your standard license or ID card for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights, until October 1, 2020.

  4. Minnesotans whose driver’s licenses or identification cards expire before October 2018 should plan to renew their cards as they normally would. The renewed license or ID card will ​be valid for four years, barring a suspension or revocation.

  5. If you choose to apply for a REAL ID before your standard license expires, an early renewal fee would be charged and an additional four years would be added to the expiration date. Fee information is available on the REAL ID FAQ page.

Remember: There’s no need to rush to get a REAL ID- compliant card. You can use your standard license or ID card for federal purposes, including boarding domestic flights, until October 1, 2020.

Learn more about the new design on our New Driver’s License and ID Card page.

Wall Street gives Minnesota great grades for fiscal health

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

For Gov. Mark Dayton and his finance team, last week’s news that Minnesota’s Standard & Poor’s bond rating had been upgraded to AAA — the top rung for states — was a bit like a student learning that he had aced a final exam.

The new rating matched the top marks Minnesota regained from the Fitch agency in 2016 and scored again last week for the third straight year. A third agency, Moody’s, held the state’s rating at Aa1, where it has been since the state budget deficit repair job of 2003. Moody’s explained its reluctance to give Minnesota top marks by noting that the state’s “sound management tools” are “somewhat mitigated by recurring governance issues” — things, we imagine, like a gubernatorial veto of a massive 1,000-page spending bill.

Still, praise from two of Wall Street’s big three rating agencies validates one of the two-term DFL governor’s favorite bragging points: On his watch, Minnesota has regained sound fiscal health.