Jun 27, 2012
Michigan governor signs bill to help farmers recover from loss

Legislation providing loans to farmers who suffered catastrophic crop losses following unseasonable weather this spring is among the key bills recently signed by Gov. Rick Snyder. Abnormally high temperatures in early March were followed by freezes, ruining fruit crops and causing losses of $210 million.

Estimates suggest a loss of 90 percent of both the apple and tart cherry crops, 95 percent of the peach crop, 80 percent of the sweet cherry crop, 85 percent of the juice grape crop and 15 percent of the blueberry crop.

Many producers will have a hard time surviving financially until the next growing season without loans to cover ongoing costs. House Bill 5717, sponsored by state Rep. Ray Franz, requires a one-time $15-million appropriation to cover some costs for banks that offer agricultural loans to impacted farmers and processors. Lenders will assume the credit risk.

“This is the worst natural disaster to strike Michigan’s agricultural industry in more than 50 years,”Snyder said. “Agriculture is a key component of our economy, and these loans will help keep our fruit farmers afloat until next season.”

The bill now is Public Act 193 of 2012.

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