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.
“What the House majority did by blocking our attempt to bring urgency to this issue is politics at its worst,” said Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent. “Farmers are facing extraordinarily difficult economic challenges and a fund to help them is running dry. It is the Legislature’s responsibility to help them, but Democrats chose to throw out roadblocks instead of doing what’s right. The clock is ticking and our farmers can’t afford to wait.”
Swedzinski 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.