Ag interests at the Minnesota Capitol warn the state agency that makes loans to farmers is running out of money and they’re trying to fast-track a 50-million-dollar injection for the Rural Finance Authority. A House panel hears a bill this morning, after a similar measure passed unanimously on a voice vote in a Senate committee Monday afternoon. Elbow Lake Senator Torrey Westrom says, “Many times this is the difference of that new beginning farmer being able to get started, or the farm transitioning, or the farm in financial distress needing a little bit of help.”
Stu Lourey with Minnesota Farmers Union says RFA’s funding crunch creates problems for those like a Blue Earth County family transitioning the farm to their daughter. Lourey says that family is “trying to cobble together financing, like right at this moment, and RFA could be that kind of critical piece for that family and be the difference between whether she’s able to continue farming and building equity and someday taking over her family’s operation.” Lourey told lawmakers there’s precedent for passing R-F-A funding early in the legislative session, independent of a bonding bill.
House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler says Democrats are committed to taking up a measure to fund the Rural Finance Authority.