17.115 Shared savings loan program.
Subdivision 1. Establishment. The commissioner shall establish a shared savings loan program to provide loans that enable farmers to adopt best management practices that emphasize sufficiency and self-sufficiency in agricultural inputs, including energy efficiency, reduction of petroleum and chemical inputs, and increasing the energy self-sufficiency of agricultural producers.
Subd. 2. Loan criteria. (a) The shared savings loan program must provide loans for purchase of new or used machinery, installation of equipment, and projects that reduce or make more efficient farm energy use. Eligible loan uses do not include seed, fertilizer, or fuel.
(b) Loans may not exceed $15,000 per individual applying for a loan and may not exceed $75,000 for loans to five or more individuals on joint projects. The loan repayment period may be up to seven years as determined by project cost and energy savings. The interest on the loans is six percent.
(c) Loans may only be made to residents of this state engaged in farming.
Subd. 3. Awarding of loans. (a) Applications for loans must be made to the commissioner on forms prescribed by the commissioner.
(b) The applications must be reviewed, ranked, and recommended by a loan review panel appointed by the commissioner. The loan review panel shall consist of two lenders with agricultural experience, two resident farmers of the state using sustainable agriculture methods, two resident farmers of the state using organic agriculture methods, a farm management specialist, a representative from a post-secondary education institution, and a chair from the department.
(c) The loan review panel shall rank applications according to the following criteria:
(1) realize savings to the cost of agricultural production and project savings to repay the cost of the loan;
(2) reduce or make more efficient use of energy; and
(3) reduce production costs.
(d) A loan application must show that the loan can be repaid by the applicant.
(e) The commissioner must consider the recommendations of the loan review panel and may make loans for eligible projects. Priority must be given based on the amount of savings realized by adopting the practice implemented by the loan.
Subd. 4. Administration; information dissemination. The amount in the revolving loan account is appropriated to the commissioner to make loans under this section and administer the loan program. The interest on the money in the revolving loan account and the interest on loans repaid to the state may be spent by the commissioner for administrative expenses. The commissioner shall collect and disseminate information relating to projects for which loans are given under this section.