MINNESOTA HOUSE DEMOCRATS BLOCK PROPOSAL TO REPLENISH FUNDS FOR RURAL FINANCE AUTHORITY LOANS
ST. PAUL – On Wednesday, Minnesota House Democrats unanimously voted against and blocked a proposal supported by Representative Deb Kiel, R-Crookston, and Representative Dan Fabian, R-Roseau, 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 MN Department of Agriculture.
“With farmers continuing to struggle, we need to make sure the RFA has adequate funding to help,” said Kiel. “This year is going to be challenging, and for many of these farmers, RFA loans make the difference between continuing farming and going under. It is unacceptable to withhold this funding from the people who need it.”
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.
“This funding is absolutely essential to rural Minnesota, and we know these loans work,” said Fabian. “It is time to show Greater Minnesota that we recognize there are problems and we are here to help. It is extremely troubling that the Democrats are playing politics with the future of our Minnesota farms.”