ST. PAUL (LEARFIELD) – 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 in a Senate committee Monday afternoon.
“Many times this is the difference of the new beginning farmer being able to get started, or the farm transitioning or the farm in distress needing a little bit of help,” said Sen. Torrey Westerm (R-Elbow Lake).
Last week, Republicans in the House tried to fast-track legislation to fund the RFA, but efforts failed when House Democrats accused Republicans of playing politics.
But the Minnesota Farmers Union’s Stu Lourey says the need is very real and points to a Blue Earth County family who is trying to transition the farm to their daughter.
“Trying to cobble together financing right at this moment, and RFA could be that kind of critical piece of that for the family and be the difference between whether she’s able to continue farming and building equity and someday taking over her family’s operation,” said Lourey.
He added that 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.