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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Shane Mekeland (R)

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Disaster Recovery Loan Program now available to farmers for COVID-19 damages

Monday, April 6, 2020


ST. PAUL – The Minnesota Disaster Recovery Loan Program is now accessible to farmers who are suffering financial damages related to the COVID-19 outbreak after the Legislature expanded access to the funds.

Legislative approval of a bill March 26 increased program flexibility, providing a resource to farmers for expenses not covered by insurance.

“Our farmers are really struggling and the more tools they have at their disposal, the better,” said Rep. Shane Mekeland, R-Clear Lake. “This simple change will allow for greater discretion while maintaining boundaries to ensure these funds are used appropriately. We need to apply common sense wherever possible in efforts to combat COVID-19 and that is what this change is all about. I hope increased flexibility with this program helps keep our farmers keep moving because, as far as workers go, they are as essential as they come for our society in general.”

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) indicates program dollars can be used to “replace livestock or flocks, make building improvements, or cover the loss of revenue. Loan proceeds may also be used to repair or replace septic and water systems, and replace destroyed agricultural buildings.”

The program is coordinated by the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) and farmers will work through their local lenders to secure financing. The MDA reports the RFA participation in a qualifying loan is limited to 45 percent of the principal amount, up to $200,000. Other terms, conditions and qualification standards apply and can be found at the MDA website, or by calling (651) 201-6666.


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