In Extension of Farmer-Lender Mediation Act passed by House, Session Weekly writer Jonathan writes:
The House voted 124-5 Thursday to extend the sunset date of The Farmer-Lender Mediation Act by four years.
The bill would change the expiration date of the act — which requires a bank or other creditor to offer mediation to a farmer before enforcing a debt secured by agriculture property such as land, livestock or crops — to June 30, 2017.
Although the law was enacted 27 years ago during the farm crisis of the mid-1980s, nearly 3,000 mediation notices, involving 1,087 farms, were received in fiscal year 2012, the fourth-highest total in the last 10 years.
“The Farmer-Lender Mediation Act was enacted in 1986, when there was severe financial stress in the agriculture economy, and farmers across the state were in distress, and lenders as well were in distress trying to figure out how to actually assist the farmers,” Poppe said. “The bill was enacted in order to allow the farmers and lenders to have a cooling-off period and in order to be able to mediate the dispute that they had in order to resolve the problems, in order to pay the bills and set up the payment plans.”
The bill was co-sponsored by Rod Hamilton (R-Mountain Lake); Andrew Falk (DFL-Murdock); Jay McNamar (DFL-Elbow Lake); Roger Erickson (DFL-Baudette); and John Petersburg (R-Waseca).
There was no discussion of the bill on the floour--Bluestem's sources say the program is a win-win for both farmers and farm lenders--before the House voted on it.
Now, Bluestem can understand why suburban legislators like Andrea Kieffer, Ernie Leidiger and Linda Runbeck might not bother themselves to learn about how this program, which is run through the University of Minnesota Extension office like so much technical assistance available to farmers.
But Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa) and Glenn Gruenhagen (R-Glencoe), both rural legislators? It seems like just yesterday Draz was complaining about how urban DFLers couldn't understand ag issues. Gruenhagen, on the other hand, was carrying on about how wonderful Jeanne Poppe is.
Just not her bi-partisan, pro-farmer bills apparently.
But since none of the handful of Republicans who voted against the bill raised any objection to it, we may never know just what issues our Rural Defenders were having last Thursday.
Photo: Glenn Gruenhagen is a friendly guy who doesn't like a mediation program for farmers and lenders.
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