The Michigan House and state Rep. Beau LaFave today approved a plan to help farmers whose crops have been delayed or damaged by this spring’s record-setting rain.
The plan would help private lenders provide low-interest loans to qualified farmers at no financial risk to the state.
“This spring has been one of the rainiest on record and crop farmers, processers and other agriculture-related businesses in the Upper Peninsula have been devastated,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “No one could have prepared for or anticipated this bad weather. This program will help stabilize the finances of Michigan’s second-largest economic industry – one that hundreds of thousands of our families and neighbors depend on to make a living. As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, I am proud to provide this much-needed and deserved support for our hard-working farmers across the state.”
Michigan has had very few days suitable for field work this spring. As a result, only about 63 percent of corn seeds and 43 percent of soybean seeds have been planted, which means yields will be low. Many farmers will be facing financial trouble as this crop season continues.
House Bill 4234 provides $15 million to help private lenders run the loan program and keep interest rates low for farmers. The state does not provide the loans, so there is no financial risk or liability to the state with this program.
Similar low-interest loan programs were approved for Michigan farmers in 2002 and 2012.
LaFave also recently joined House colleagues in submitting a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture regarding federal support.