Today, the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a draft Farm Bill that includes funding increases and policy changes to support sustainable agriculture. The bill supports overall funding increases for conservation programs and supports local and regional food systems.
Minnesota's own Senator Amy Klobuchar helped defeat a problematic amendment, through her own second order amendment, that would raise individual limits on guaranteed loans. The original amendment (Hoeven 1) would have increased the cap on direct loans from $300,000 to $600,000. The loan cap will still be raised, but not to the levels pushed for by Senator Hoeven (R-ND). Increased loan limits would result in fewer, but larger loans, reducing credit availability for small and mid-scale farms, including many beginning and socially-disadvantaged farmers. Current use of USDA loan programs demonstrates a need for greater program funding, but not an increase in individual loan amounts. We are please that this amendment was defeated.
IATP supports the Committee's push to get this legislation to the Senate floor before the Fourth of July holiday, and hopes this bipartisan bill will have the support to pass, in order to aid our farmers in crisis.