ST. PAUL MN – State Representative Tim Miller (R-Prinsburg), is encouraging farmers whose flocks have been impacted by avian flu to apply for disaster relief loans available through the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority (RFA).
During last week's special session, the legislature approved $10 million in funding for the RFA program in response to the avian flu epidemic as a part of the Environment and Agriculture omnibus bill.
According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, loans are available to farmers through their existing agriculture lenders. Current loan interest rates are 0% for a period of up to 10 years. RFA-backed loans are limited to 45% of the principal loan amount up to a maximum of $200,000. Loan funds can be used to replace flocks, make building improvements, or cover loss of revenue.
"Poultry growers who have been devastated by this epidemic are facing an unexpected personal economic crisis," Miller said. "These loans are available to give them some much needed assistance, and I'm hopeful area producers will pursue them as they look to recover from the avian flu."
The ag department states that farmers must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible for a Disaster Recovery Loan:
Be an individual who is a resident of Minnesota or a domestic family farm corporation or family farm partnership as defined in section 500.24, subd. 2;
Certify that the damage or loss was sustained within a county that was the subject of a state or federal disaster declaration, or due to the presence of avian influenza;
Demonstrate an ability to repay the loan;
Have received at least 50 percent of average annual gross income from farming for the past three years.
Interested borrowers are encouraged to contact their lender or call the Rural Finance Authority at 651-201-6004 651-201-6004. Information on the loan program can be found by visiting the Rural Finance Authority website www.mda.state.mn.us/agfinance and clicking "Disaster Recovery Loan Program" on the right side, or by visiting www.mda.state.mn.us/grants/disaster/disasterloan.