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.
“Farmers and ranchers are experiencing both down markets and Mother Nature has been tough this fall on getting crops out of the fields,” said Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin. “We can’t afford to move at the speed of the Legislature and delay replenishing this loan fund. We need to work at the speed of agriculture and take care of this right now. Farmers operate on year-long budgets and need to have answers today in order to make those tough financial decisions.”
Lueck 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 offers 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.