Lauwers update to the state’s agricultural disaster relief program now law

LANSING, Mich. — The governor on Tuesday signed a bill authored by Sen. Dan Lauwers that will update the state’s agricultural disaster relief program and enable farmers to apply for low-interest qualified loans.

Senate Bill 693, now Public Act 52 of 2020, will update the Agriculture Disaster Loan Origination Program to reflect the specific needs of the 2019 season and allow lenders to begin issuing loans with the $15 million appropriated by the Legislature in June 2019, which will provide access to up to $300 million in loans.

“Spring of 2019 was an incredibly harsh and wet one for farmers across the state, who suffered tremendous losses,” said Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “Farmers’ cash-flow can be improved greatly with this update to the law. This in turn will provide farmers time to recover from their losses and keep the family farm.”

The Agricultural Disaster Loan Origination Program is a partnership between farmers and processors, private lenders, and the state to support the agriculture industry through loss of crops due to weather-related disasters.

The program provides growers and agribusinesses low-interest loans, and it gives farmers the peace of mind that they can take out a loan based on their qualified losses to cover their everyday expenses, including machinery, land and infrastructure payments.

Among other changes, the new law updates the interest rate to the five-year U.S. Treasury Note rate plus 2% and extends the lending period to seven years.