ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – The Minnesota Senate has approved expanding a zero-interest disaster loan program for farmers, just in time for producers whose buildings have been damaged by heavy snow this winter.
The bill passed the Senate unanimously Thursday. It broadens eligibility for the Disaster Loan Recovery Program run by the state’s Rural Finance Authority. The proposal was one of many that were included in a massive budget bill vetoed by Gov. Mark Dayton last year.
A similar farm aid bill awaits a vote on the House floor.
The bill adds uninsured losses from the weight of snow, sleet or ice to the list of damages covered by the disaster loan program. It would be retroactive to Jan. 1.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says around 75 barns statewide have collapsed this winter, including a cattle barn on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds (pictured) that collapsed under the weight of heavy snow this week.