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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Swedzinski bill to aid RFA loan delivery advances in House

Thursday, February 24, 2022


ST. PAUL – Legislation Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, authored to help speed up turnaround time on Rural Finance Authority loan program applications recently passed its first committee test in the House.

Swedzinski’s bill (H.F. 3081) appropriates $80,000 to the Department of Agriculture to expedite the processing of RFA applications. Swedzinski said this would be especially helpful to prospective farmers seeking to leverage the RFA’s beginning farmer tax credit program.

“This is a pretty straightforward bill to help us meet a growing need as agriculture transitions,” Swedzinski said. “The RFA does a great job, but it gets inundated with applications and has struggled to keep up with demand. The goal of this bill is to make sure the RFA has the tools and the staff it needs to make sure young farmers have an opportunity to grow and be successful in their operations. ”

Groups from the agricultural industry expressed support for Swedzinski’s bill. Brent Kelsey of agricultural lender Compeer Financial testified to the House Agriculture Finance and Policy Committee in favor of the proposal. Kelsey said he has been a government loan specialist with Compeer the last 11 years and has personally encountered growing RFA processing delays in recent months, with turnaround time stretching from mere days to up to 10 weeks. Kelsey said this can cause program participants to lose interest, cancel their application or even decide not to pursue RFA financing at all. 

“The RFA is an extremely valuable resource to farmers in Minnesota, especially young farmers,” Swedzinski said. “My bill just helps make sure the RFA can effectively and efficiently deliver the great services it provides so more farmers can benefit.”

The committee set aside Swedzinski’s bill for potential inclusion in an omnibus agriculture package later this session.