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MN Senate unanimously passes drought relief package

The Minnesota Senate unanimously passed significant legislation to help Minnesota Farmers devastated by last year’s drought and invest in preparations for future challenges including the developing avian flu outbreak.

“Last year was difficult on a large portion of our agricultural community. This funding will help our farmers financially recover from the impacts of last year’s drought and help prepare them for this growing season. It will also help farmers prepare against the avian flu outbreak,” said Senator Gene Dornink (R – Hayfield).

The $10 million bill, S.F. 3479, appropriates $7 million for grants of up to $5,000 for livestock and specialty crop farmers located in counties that were designated as a primary natural disaster area by the USDA between July 20 and December 31, 2021. It’s estimated to cover all or parts of 67 Minnesota counties. Grants are to be awarded on a first-come, first-served, non-competitive basis. Further, the bill includes $1.5 million to the Rural Finance Authority (RFA) to reimburse them for drought relief loans that they have already processed or are currently processing.

The House companion bill, H.F. 3420, passed on the House floor on March 10th. If the House chooses not to concur with the Senate language, then the legislation will go to a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two bills.

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