Drought relief for farmers worked on in conference committee

A major drought overtook Minnesota in 2021, as persistent moisture deficits combined with above-normal temperatures across the state. In some parts of the state, the drought was as severe as anything experienced in over 40 years, for most other parts of the state, it was the worst drought in 10-30 years.

These historic drought conditions have led to extreme stress and financial hardship for Minnesota’s farmers and livestock producers, who are already facing a difficult time in the agriculture industry.

The Senate passed an $8.5 million package for relief from that drought for the state’s farmers.

$7 million was in direct financial aid to livestock farmers and specialty crop farmers, as the cost of feeding cattle skyrocketed, and crops grown for farmers markets were hit especially hard. Another $1.5 million was included for the Rural Finance Authority’s low-interest loan program, focused on drought relief.

The House has also passed a drought relief package, though there are strong differences between the two.

A conference committee began meeting this week to resolve those differences and come to agreement on what the final bill will include.

Senate DFLers will continue to fight for our farmers, who need this support as soon as possible, and work to keep politics out of the negotiations on the bill as it continues through the conference committee process. (HF 3420)