The Senate Finance Committee took up the drought relief bill, sending it to the floor with $8.5 million in relief for Minnesota’s farmers affected by last year’s severe drought. $7 million is available for direct financial assistance to livestock and specialty crop farmers, and $1.5 million is directed to the Rural Finance Authority for low-interest drought relief loans.
In Committee debate, Senate DFLers voted to increase the amount in direct financial relief from $6.5 million to $7 million.
The state’s Agriculture Commissioner testified in committee that it would take four to six weeks to get this relief to farmers once a bill is passed, and farmers need this relief as soon as possible.
Minnesota’s farmers get up earlier and stay up later than most of us. They face challenges out of their control, from droughts and climate change to animal and plant disease. Despite these challenges, they go to work every day tending the crops and raising the livestock that feed not just Minnesota, but the country. They put food on everyone’s tables and deserve for their legislators to work as hard for them as they do for us as we push forward on drought relief.
The bill will be taken up next on the Senate floor. The House has already passed a bill but the language differs, so the bill will need to go to conference committee and back to the chambers for final passage before it’s sent to the governor’s desk. Time is of the essence, and Senate DFLers will continue to fight for farmers and to have the bill heard on the floor as soon as possible. (SF 3479/HF 3420)