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Dayton says he will sponsor disaster relief bill for drought


Fri, Sep 12th, 2003
Posted in Features

Speaking in a teleconference on Wednesday with several media, including the Fillmore County Journal, Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton said that he would sponsor federal disaster aid legislation to provide relief for Minnesota farmers suffering crop losses from the extended drought.

Dayton said that he had agreed to sponsor the legislation after being approached by the National Farmers Union. Coincidentally, on Tuesday, Dayton was awarded the Farmers Union 2003 Golden Triangle Award for his leadership in obtaining disaster assistance for farmers, his commitment to improving dairy prices and his ongoing support for fairer trade initiatives.

Dayton told the media that disaster relief legislation would include emergency loans and other assistance measures that will give farmers a range of options.

When told by the Journal that area farmers were not optimistic that federal relief would be able to replace the value of lost crops and that farmers were saying “What good is another loan?” , Dayton vowed to try to design the bill to meet the specific needs of farmers.

“I don’t like this notched structure, where you’re either in 100% or not at all,” Dayton said. “If you have 30% losses, the aid should be graduated to meet those losses. Disaster assistance should be proportional to a farmer’s loss. The last thing the farmer needs is another loan.”

Dayton acknowledged that Governor Pawlenty had requested federal aid and that the Department of Agriculture was awaiting documentation.

“I’m ready to go ahead with anyone from across the aisle in support of this,” Dayton said.

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