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.
“It is greatly concerning that our House could not come together to support farmers,” said state Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring. “Farmers are counting on this funding to help them recover from natural disasters, conduct upgrades and simply prepare for the upcoming growing season at a time extremely tight margins are squeezing them financially. Our state lost 330 dairy farms in 2019 alone and failing to replenish RFA funds may only add to that count.”
Demuth 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.