Gov. Walz announces $10M drought relief package for farmers, producers

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Gov. Tim Walz announced a $10 million drought relief package on Friday, that will help state farmers and livestock producers impacted by severe drought conditions during the 2021 growing season.

"Historic drought conditions have created extreme stress and financial hardship for our farmers and livestock producers during an already difficult time for the agricultural industry," Walz said. "As governor, and as someone who grew up on a family farm, I stand with our farmers. This funding will provide much-needed relief to Minnesota’s agricultural community and help ensure our farmers can keep feeding Minnesota and the world."

The governor’s proposal includes $5 million in rapid response grants to provide drought relief for livestock producers and specialty crop producers. According to the governor’s office, examples of eligible costs include water handling equipment such as water tanks, pipelines, and water wagons, water hauling, wells and irrigation equipment.

The funding proposal also includes $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan program. The program makes zero-interest loans available immediately for state farmers whose operations are suffering from lack of rain. In addition, the program can also be used to help cover lost revenue or expenses not covered by insurance.

"We’re grateful to see the governor take action toward providing swift, targeted relief to farmers who’ve been devastated by this historic drought," said Gary Wertish, President of the Minnesota Farmers Union. "Many livestock and specialty crop producers are struggling to plan for winter and upcoming season. Any relief we can get out now will help keep families on the farm."

Throughout this summer, Walz met with agricultural leaders across the state to hear how the drought has impacted them. He also met with President Joe Biden and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to ask that all levels of government work together to address the impacts of this drought on Minnesota’s farmers.