ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House on Thursday provided broad, bipartisan approval of a bill to replenish funds for the state’s depleted Rural Finance Authority loan program for farmers.
Upon enactment, the bill would provide $50 million to the RFA after the program ran dry Feb. 21. State Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township, said the RFA’s programs are popular among farmers and passage of the bill now will help to ensure a smoother crop season.
“It’s good we took care of this now so farmers aren’t in limbo as the new planting season begins,” Urdahl said. “Farmers have enough challenges to think about and shouldn’t have to worry whether the state is holding up its end of the bargain on financing programs. This bill will provide them with some peace of mind.”
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.
The bill, which passed the House 127-2, now awaits action in the Minnesota Senate.