ST. PAUL – State Rep. Paul Anderson, R-Starbuck, has been named to a conference committee that will prepare a package of drought relief for farmers for final passage in the Legislature.

The House and Senate both recently approved legislation to help farmers affected by last year’s dry conditions. The House’s $10.1 million package (H.F. 3420) provides direct grants to farmers affected by last year’s dry conditions. It also provides funding for the Rural Finance Authority to issue loans to those who suffered crop and livestock losses. In addition it appropriates $100,000 in transportation assistance to farmers who purchased hay to supplement their feed supply.

“There are sizable differences between the bills which must be resolved before we can bring this back for final passage,” said Anderson, the House Republican lead on agriculture issues. “The biggest hangup is language the House majority included giving the DNR an additional $13 million to replant trees and do other drought mitigation work. There is no such language in the Senate version. 

“We have a lot of work to do to bridge the differences in bills, but I am optimistic we will find agreement and get this done to help our farmers who were impacted by last year’s drought. I am pleased to have been named to this conference committee and look forward to the challenge.”

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn May 23. Anderson indicated the conference committee is likely to begin meeting soon after the Easter holiday.