Legislation proposed in Michigan House that would provide low-interest loans to fruit growers whose crops were severely damaged by erratic spring weather

LANSING, Michigan , June 6, 2012 () – Legislation proposed in the Michigan House would provide low-interest loans to fruit growers whose crops were severely damaged by erratic spring weather.

Rep. Ray Franz of Onekama introduced the measure Tuesday. It would make farmers and processors in designated crop damage disaster areas eligible for loans with 1 percent interest rates. Maximum amounts would be $400,000 for individuals, $800,000 for processors and handlers, and $1 million for processors with multiple locations.

Private lenders would make the loans, while the state would cover administrative costs equaling 5 percent of the loan principal.

A fiscal analysis says $15 million would be appropriated to pay fees and provide loan guarantees. But the program's ultimate effect on the state budget would depend on how much money is lost because of defaults or other non-payments.

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