As farmers continue to feel effects of drought, Walz proposes $10 million relief package

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 9:25 PM CDT
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ST. PETER, Minn. (KEYC) - Friday, Gov. Tim Walz proposed a $10 million drought relief package to support Minnesota farmers and livestock producers impacted by severe drought conditions.

Tim Enz, owner of Triple E Farms, is one of several Minnesota farmers feeling the effects of this year’s drought.

“I really noticed it in our hay. Our hay production is down,” Enz said.

This summer, farmers were able to request emergency haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP, lands, which are lands normally not farmed.

“I got some friends that, they asked me if I wanted to cut their CRP ground for hay for the cattle. I said yeah, so they went and signed up for it. It was greatly appreciated because I needed the hay,” said Enz.

Enz said he would be struggling more if he wasn’t able to use that option.

“Because I would have to go out and buy hay, and hay is really expensive now,” he said.

But help for farmers like Enz could soon be on the way.

Walz’s proposal includes $5 million in rapid response grants to provide drought relief for livestock producers and specialty crop producers.

It also includes $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program.

The program makes zero-interest loans available immediately for Minnesota farmers impacted by the lack of rain and can be used to help cover lost revenue or expenses not covered by insurance.

“Again for Minnesotans, the reason that this makes a difference to you personally is that we need to keep folks on the land. We need to make sure that we have these producers that stay here and that they continue to make sure and it’s not just for Minnesota, we are a major reason that the country has that abundance of food supply and the world has it. So, we think this is a piece that helps fill the gap,” said Walz.

The proposal requires a special legislative session for approval.

Enz said he would seek some of the funding.

“If we can apply for it and get a few dollars, you know it’s going to benefit us. It’s going to help out,” he said.

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