ST. PAUL – Minnesota House Democrats on Wednesday unanimously voted against and blocked a House Republican proposal to allocate funds for a depleted loan program which aids farmers.
The Rural Finance Authority loan program runs out of funds on Friday, according the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. House Republicans attempted to replenish those funds to eliminate uncertainty for farmers and help them prepare for the upcoming growing season.
“Farmers who are counting on us were done a great disservice today,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “There’s really nothing more we can learn about this situation in meetings that will be helpful. The RFA has been drained, farmers are facing even more financial stress and we need to replace this funding now, not whenever we get around to it.”
Urdahl said the RFA partners with agricultural lenders to provide low-cost financing to farmers on terms and conditions not otherwise available from other credit sources. The RFA portion of the loan is carried at a reduced interest rate to improve the cash flow of eligible farmers. RFA offer loans within the beginning farmer loan and seller assisted program, agricultural improvement program, debt restructuring program, and livestock expansion programs.
House Republicans attempted to allocate $50 million to the RFA on Wednesday.