ST. PAUL – The Minnesota House approved legislation on Thursday making disaster recovery loans available to farmers whose barns have recently collapsed under the weight of heavy snow, sleet, or ice.
Dozens of farm buildings have caved in recent days, primarily impacting southeastern Minnesota and also occurring in other parts of the state. The legislation (S.F. 2225) authorizes the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority to issue Disaster Recovery Loans to farmers whose properties sustained damage retroactively to Jan. 1, 2019.
“The harsh weather we experienced the last six weeks is causing hardships for farmers who already have been facing tough times,” said Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Acton Township. “Farming is vital to our way of life in District 18A and the dairy industry is an especially important component in our local economy. I am pleased we put this bill on a fast track to passage to help those who suffered damage to their buildings because waiting around for an insurance claim to process just isn’t going to cut it in many cases.”
Farmers can use Disaster Recovery Loans for several purposes:
- To clean up, repair, or replace farm structures and septic and water systems, as well as replace seed, other crop inputs, feed, and livestock;
- To purchase watering systems, irrigation systems, and other drought mitigation systems and practices when drought is the cause of the purchase;
- To restore farmland; or
- To replace flocks, make building improvements, or cover the loss of revenue when the replacement, improvements, or loss of revenue is due to the confirmed presence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza in a commercial poultry or game flock located in Minnesota.
With the Senate having previously approved the bill, it now is in the hands of Gov. Tim Walz for enactment.