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Financial assistance for weather-weary farmers a gubernatorial signature away

Bipartisan support sent a bill to expand a disaster recovery loan program that aids farmers to the desk of Gov. Tim Walz.

The House passed HF2093/SF2225* on a 127-0 vote Thursday, mere hours after the Senate passed the bill 60-0.

Rep. Jeanne Poppe discusses a bill to expand a disaster recovery loan program that aids farmers during floor session March 14. Photo by Paul Battaglia

Sponsored by Rep. Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin) and Sen. Michael Goggin (R-Red Wing), the bill would allow the Rural Finance Authority to declare market emergencies, freeing up funds for disaster recovery program to farmers suffering weather-related losses not covered by insurance.

As many as 100 agricultural buildings across the state have been damaged by recent heavy snows, according to Rep. Paul Anderson (R-Starbuck). That creates a heavy burden for a sector already hard hit by four years of low commodity prices and high operating costs.

Downed barns can leave farmers facing not only costs to replace the structure, but animals injured or killed, feed and hay, field inputs and equipment.

“We need to thank our farmers. They continue to do yeoman’s work every single day,” Poppe said. “… (This is) a way to allow them to continue to be resilient.”

 


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