Policy Director Anna Bellin joins MCGA staff

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

Fresh from experience at the capital in Saint Paul, Anna Bellin has joined the staff of Minnesota Corn Growers Association as its new policy director.

Bellin has spent the past ten years working at the Minnesota Legislature in a series of roles, most recently working for Majority Leader Matt Dean (R-District 52B). She began at the legislature at age 18 as a student intern while she studied political science at Bethel University in Saint Paul. After graduation in 2006, she worked for the Minnesota Republican Caucus.

“I understand government, and the legislative process,” said Bellin. “The reason I took this job is that there has never been more opportunity for agriculture than there is today and I want to help farmers make the most of that. I respect farmers, and I appreciate the importance of food production, so I’m looking forward to this role, helping our policy makers understand the challenges of farming today and the opportunities, and how government can interact with agriculture to maximize those opportunities.”

Bellin, who grew up in the suburbs notes that her grandfather was a dairy farmer.

“As time goes on, fewer Minnesotans feel directly connected to agriculture–I think that’s where the challenge comes from when it comes to developing agriculture policy, and I want to approach advocacy from that angle of reestablishing connections,” Bellin said.

The role of policy director doesn’t slow down when the Minnesota Legislature is in recess. Right away, Bellin has become involved in planning the activities of MCGA’s grower leaders during their upcoming trip to Washington, DC. In July the grower leaders attend Corn Congress, one of two annual gatherings of all the member states of National Corn Growers Association. Not only does this meeting focus on national policy direction, but taking advantage of its location in the nation’s capital, corn grower leaders meet with legislators and staffers to offer their thoughts about the Farm Bill and other proposed laws that will impact farmers.

And then in August, MCGA organizes and hosts the annual Minnesota Agricultural Leadership Conference, which draws together lawmakers, experts from agribusiness and academia and grower leaders representing producers of a spectrum of commodities.

“Taking all the good things agriculture is doing with conservation, water quality, air quality–and recognizing the role agriculture plays in a strong economy–as policy director I want to help the grower leaders communicate about this proactive approach their taking, so that lawmakers and policy makers can work together cooperatively and help farmers succeed. Ag is not a partisan issue. I have never seen it become partisan in my years at the capital, and the fact that it is not partisan makes for a good opportunity to build those bridges and help everyone understand how they are connected to agriculture.”

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