ST. PAUL (May 27, 2009) Farmers in 28 Minnesota counties are eligible to apply for low-interest loans through the Minnesota Rural Finance Authority to offset the cost of losses caused by severe weather and flooding this spring.

The counties are Becker, Beltrami, Chippewa, Clay, Clearwater, Cook, Douglas, Grant, Hubbard, Kittson, Lac qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Polk, Pope, Red Lake, Roseau, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wadena, Wilkin and Yellow Medicine.

Severe storms and flooding in this region resulted in a Presidential Disaster Declaration in April. The RFA’s Disaster Loan Program provides low-interest loans to farmers following an official Presidential Disaster Declaration to recover the cost of losses not covered by insurance, such as building repairs or replacement, equipment repairs or replacement and extra feed expenses from lost crops. Loans are available at an interest rate of 3 percent and the length of the loan is based on the use of funds, not to exceed 10 years. Farmers work through their local lender to complete a loan application and apply for RFA participation.

The RFA disaster assistance loans will be available to producers in the designated counties until April 22, 2010, or one year from the date of the declared disaster.

For more information or eligibility requirements, contact Gary Blahosky, RFA senior financial officer, at (651) 201-6666 or Gary.blahosky@state.mn.us.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture administers a variety of low-interest loan programs through the state's Rural Finance Authority. Visit the MDA website at www.mda.state.mn.us for a list of these programs.

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This article was submitted by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.