Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I’m pleased to report that the Minnesota House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation that replenishes funding for a much-needed state farm loan program.
RFA LOAN BILL APPROVED IN MINNESOTA HOUSE
The Rural Finance Authority (RFA) loan program, which ran out of funds on February 21, would receive a $50 million funding infusion under the approved plan.
The RFA is Minnesota’s main agricultural lending arm. It 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 offers loans within the beginning farmer loan and seller assisted program, agricultural improvement program, debt restructuring program, and livestock expansion programs.
I have personally talked with farmers who have utilized this program. Weather issues, low commodity prices, high health insurance rates, increasing supply costs and additional mandates and regulations placed on agricultural producers all create a very difficult environment for farmers right now. I am relieved that the House members came together tonight to support our valued farmers. You can hear the story I told on the House floor about one of our area farmers who utilized the RFA program by clicking here.
The bill now heads to the Minnesota Senate for its approval.
RED WING IGNITE AWARDED STATE GRANT
Recently Red Wing Ignite was awarded a Launch Minnesota Education Grant in its efforts to assist start-up businesses. This is outstanding news for our area and I commend the organization and state officials who worked together to make this grant happen.
Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development notes that Red Wing Ignite will use the $75,000 grant to partner with Launch Minnesota to deliver education and counseling to high-technology start-ups, provide outreach on start-up investment opportunities, and provide networking opportunities for entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders in support of the full-life cycle of innovation technology start-ups.
As a member of the House Health and Human Services Finance Division, I want you to know that lawmakers are monitoring news related to the coronavirus and are being kept up-to-date on our state’s response from the Department of Health. For the most up to date information on how to prepare and protect yourself, visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s website by clicking here.
GOVERNOR’S WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT BOARD MEETING
On Wednesday I attended the Governor’s Workforce Development Board meeting. The board has business representatives from all over the state and is focused on aligning our DEED resources to better meet our workforce shortages and grow our skilled labor supply.
I always like it when I meet local students at the Capitol. This week, Red Wing High School junior Alainn Hanson is participating in the Capitol Page Program. That’s a commendable way to spend her spring break!
Marshall Hallock, Evan Brown, and Ron Seymour from Red Wing stopped by to discuss my
rail grade separation bonding bill for Sturgeon Lake Road.
It was also good to see members of the Goodhue County Historical Society this week!
STAYING IN TOUCH
As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding any issue, please contact me. You can reach me at email@example.com or 651-296-8635.