ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House on Thursday provided broad, bipartisan approval of a bill to replenish funds for the state’s depleted Rural Finance Authority loan program for farmers.
Upon enactment, the bill would provide $50 million to the RFA after the program ran dry Feb. 21. State Rep. Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, said the RFA’s programs are popular among farmers and passage of the bill now will help to ensure a smoother crop season.
“The overwhelming support from the House is a testament to how important the RFA is to farmers,” Demuth said. “I am pleased we were able to pass this bill now so farmers aren’t in limbo heading into the spring planting season. Agriculture is a huge industry in our part of the state, so this bill is going to help a lot of people in our region and I am happy to support it.”
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.
The bill, which passed the House 127-2, now awaits action in the Minnesota Senate.