The $10 million package includes grants and recovery loans
By Diego Flammini
On Sept. 24, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz proposed a support package to help farmers challenged by the ongoing drought.
The $10 million in funding would include $5 million in rapid response grants to help livestock and specialty crop producers affected by the drought.
Each individual grant would be worth up to $5,000.
Farmers could use the funding for eligible projects like water wagons, irrigation equipment and water hauling.
In addition, another $5 million would be directed for the Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program.
This program makes zero-interest loans available immediately for farmers, who can use the funds to cover lost revenue or expenses which fall outside of insurance coverage.
As of Sept. 23, more than 23 percent of the state is experiencing extreme drought (D3 on the Drought Monitor). Another 26 percent is in severe drought (D2).
These conditions require action to support farmers.
“Historic drought conditions have created extreme stress and financial hardship for our farmers and livestock producers during an already difficult time for the agricultural industry,” Gov. Walz said in a statement. This funding will provide much-needed relief to Minnesota’s agricultural community and help ensure our farmers can keep feeding Minnesota and the world.”
Industry groups are pleased with the proposed package.
Farmers who access these funds will be able to plan for next season, said Gary Wertish, president of the Minnesota Farmers Union.
“Many livestock and specialty crop producers are struggling to plan for winter and upcoming season. Any relief we can get out now will help keep families on the farm,” he said in a statement.
To pass the package, Gov. Walz will have to call Minnesota Democrats and Republicans back for a special legislative session.