ST. PAUL – On Wednesday, Minnesota House Democrats unanimously voted against and blocked a proposal brought forward by State Representative Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake) to move a bipartisan bill that would have allocated funds for the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) loan program, which runs out of funds on Friday, February 21st according the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
“Farmers can’t wait until the end of session for this bill, in fact they can’t even wait until the end of the week,” said Hamilton, who is the Republican Lead on the Minnesota House Agriculture and Food Finance and Policy Division. “With farmers beginning to prepare for a new growing season and basically no money left for RFA funding, lawmakers needed to act with a sense of urgency, and today a majority of them failed to do so.”
Hamilton 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.
Hamilton attempted to allocate $50 million to the RFA.
“Farmers don’t have time for political games. We need to make sure the dollars are there for RFA loans and available to the farmers in need,” Hamilton concluded.