The frigid winter and wet and cold spring wreaked havoc on Michigan farmers and producers who were unable to plant their crops on time, if at all.
The Michigan Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this year authorized appropriation of $15 million in low-interest loans to farmers, growers, processors and retailers that supply farms.
The state Treasury Department has begun implementing the loan program, which enables financial institutions to make the agricultural loans. Farmers should check with their local banks and other financial institutions to see if they are participating in the Agriculture Loan Origination Program.
To help out, the state is paying the loan origination fees to reduce the cost of the loans, while the financial institutions are assuming the risk associated with providing the loans.
“Agriculture is a critical piece of our state’s economy,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “These loans will help our farmers until next year’s planting season. Treasury is ready to begin processing applications and making these funds available so we can provide relief to Michigan’s farmers.”
An online resource portal was launched in the spring to give farmers and producers the information they need to find help if they were impacted by spring weather. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is updating the site, located at michigan.gov/cropdisaster, as new information is identified, including resources from partners like Michigan State University Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Michigan’s farming community was hit hard by a trifecta of weather events this year – extreme cold, severe snow and torrential rainfalls. This loan program underscores Michigan’s commitment to help our farming families move forward,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Eliminating the loan origination fees helps alleviate some of the financial distress many of our farmers are already feeling from low commodity prices and more.”