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House approves bill making disaster recovery loans available to farmers

Friday, March 15, 2019


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.

“I am pleased we put this bill on the fast track and passed it now because farmers need to start rebuilding immediately and cannot afford to wait around to see what happens with an insurance claim,” said Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake. “Some farmers have lost livestock, others have had to move their cows to different farms to be milked and still others have had to liquidate their herds. This is a tough business and farmers have enough to worry about without facing additional uncertainties this situation has caused. Minnesota has a tradition of stepping up and delivering when disasters strike and this is another example of that.”

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.


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