Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are applauding after Governor Mark Dayton signed a fast-track bill making 35 million dollars in loans available to farmers through the Rural Finance Authority. Republican Representative Tim Miller from Prinsburg says in addition to help for existing farmers, “This really gives these beginning farmers an opportunity to get their foothold into agriculture…. We need to have the pipeline of young farmers, and we’re seeing some of that because of this program and other programs.” The Rural Finance Authority had been without funding since December 31st because the legislature didn’t pass a bonding bill. Officials say there are currently 400 active loans through the agency and over the past 30 years it’s made 28-hundred loans, investing over 270 million dollars in Minnesota farms.
Democratic Senator Kent Eken from Twin Valley says in addition to helping farmers, the legislation is “important for those farm communities,… and it’s also important for the whole state.” Democratic Representative Jean Poppe from Austin is pleased how quickly the bill passed this year, after getting tied up in a bonding package that failed last session. Poppe says, “I think that does speak to the relationship that many people have with each other, as well as with the farmers and the farming community.”