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House Democrats block proposal to replenish funding for farm loans

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

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.

“Albeit we are 99-percent sure to replenish these funds at the end of session in late May, farmers need these programs now,” said Rep. Joe McDonald, R-Delano. “The House majority indicated it is working to fix this problem, but not at a pace that I or many farmers and those who support them would prefer.

“I supported this effort to declare urgency and allocate funds today to ensure the farmers in Wright County can prepare for the upcoming growing season. Farmers already are facing challenging times and we could have provided some reassurances today but, unfortunately our efforts were blocked by the majority.”

McDonald 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.


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