MFU calls for extension to Farmer-Lender Mediation deadline
December 2, 2020
Minnesota Farmers Union (MFU) members approved a Special Order of Business at their recent annual convention that calls on Gov. Tim Walz and the Minnesota Legislature to again extend the deadline for Minnesota Farmer-Lender Mediation.
Following the direction from members, MFU President Gary Wertish sent a letter to Gov. Walz, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison, Minnesota Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka and Minority Leader Susan Kent, and Minnesota House Speaker Melissa Hortman and Minority Leader Kurt Daudt with the request to extend the mediation deadline to June 30, 2021. The deadline had previously been extended to Dec. 1, 2020.
“This will provide farm families certainty through the holidays, allow mediators to meet with farmers and lenders face-to-face, help farmers to improve their financial position and provide them with needed tax relief,” President Wertish wrote.
COVID-19 consequences have strained the resources family farmers rely on to make a living. Minnesota’s Farmer-Lender Mediation program has been a lifeline for so many since its inception in the 1980s and is more important than ever – unfortunately, COVID-19 also prevents farmers, lenders and mediators from meeting in person.
“Even under the best of circumstances, mediations are challenging, high-stress and often emotional,” President Wertish said. “This makes reaching a mutually beneficial plan for managing farm debt via phone call or web-based meeting platform challenging.”
Additionally, Wertish said that extending the deadline would provide relief to farmers during the holiday season, help them keep their farms and potentially allow some farmers to spread tax liability over more years, improving their financial positions. The full letter can be found here.
The previous extension of Farmer-Lender Mediation deadlines was enacted with the support of MFU, as detailed in a letter from March 31, 2020.
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Minnesota Farmers Union—Standing for Agriculture, Working for Farmers (www.mfu.org)