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Government money for grain bins?

Agriculture.com Staff 02/07/2016 @ 11:28am

U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, (R-MN) has introduced new legislation that would provide a powerful tool for farmers looking to improve their on-farm grain storage capacity.

The Farm Storage for America's Energy Future Act would assist producers in building grain bins. The bill improves the Farm Storage Loan Program, which makes loans to producers to build and upgrade storage facilities, to enable the program to be fully utilized by America's farmers. The bill will improve the availability of a stable supply of high quality grain for renewable energy production and livestock.

"Minnesota farm families are feeding the world and fueling the nation, and as farmers' productivity is increasing to meet the new demands of the 21st Century, they need access to financial tools to build grain storage," Coleman said in a press release. "We've seen big yields in the last couple years, especially for corn, and as a result farmers have had to resort to storing grain on the ground where some of the grain can rot. That's wasted grain that could have gone to biofuels or livestock production. I have heard directly from Minnesota farmers about the challenges of maintaining crop quality with inefficient storage space - particularly with the new markets for renewable energy booming. This legislation fixes the FSA storage loan program so it can meet Minnesota's growing grain storage needs."

The modifications to the existing program includes extending loan payoffs from seven years to 20 years, removing the current Farm Security Association (FSA) requirement for a first mortgage. Instead, it allows for an egress agreement for the collateralized equipment or structure, and removing the FSA-imposed limit on the loan amount by replacing it with an average of three years annual production history minus the applicants owned storage as a means of determining storage needs.

Brian Greenslit, a Renville County, Minnesota producer told the Minnesota Corn Growers Association the bill has been effectively worded for producers.

"I think it will really serve the interests of farmers in Minnesota very well," said Greenslit.

Greenslit has worked over the past year to bring this issue to the attention of commodity groups and lawmakers.

The Farm Storage Facility Loan Program, a program the FSA operates, has the potential to become a powerful tool for farmers trying to market their grain for renewable fuels and export, Coleman said. "Because Minnesotans have recognized problems with the program, it has not been fully utilized."

U.S. Senator Norm Coleman, (R-MN) has introduced new legislation that would provide a powerful tool for farmers looking to improve their on-farm grain storage capacity.

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