Governor Scott Walker announced on April 25 that the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) will provide amended loan guarantees to dairy farmers and processors with more favorable terms.

The loan guarantees will help Wisconsin dairy producers and processors access much-needed capital to address current market conditions. The changes will provide more favorable repayment and collateral terms to farmers and increased guarantees for producers at lower fees.

“This is a difficult time for many of Wisconsin’s dairy farm families due to Canada’s dairy trade policies, and we’re going to do everything we can to help them,” Governor Walker said.

WHEDA loan guarantee changes follow Governor Scott Walker’s April 18, 2017, request for President Donald J. Trump to address Canada’s decision to unilaterally shut down the market for U.S. ultra-filtered milk. Governor Walker’s appeal comes as a result of many of Wisconsin dairy farms being without buyers for their milk production beginning May 1, 2017.

“WHEDA is proud to be a part of the solution to Governor Walker’s efforts to help dairy farmers in need of finding processors for their milk supply,” said WHEDA Executive Director Wyman Winston. “With our Small Business Loan Guarantee program, WHEDA will also help Wisconsin-based dairy processors and businesses involved in storing finished goods to expand operations for the influx of milk.”

WHEDA has offered small business loan guarantees since 1983. The loan guarantees reduce financial risk and exposure to lenders while ensuring that farmers and businesses have access to low-cost capital.

Eligible dairy farmers will be able to access loan guarantees at more favorable terms than WHEDA’s current agricultural loan guarantees. In addition, qualified dairy processors will have access to an 80% loan guarantee up to $750,000. Revolving working capital loans offer an 80% loan guarantee up to $200,000. WHEDA’s current small business loan guarantees offer a 50% maximum guarantee and slightly higher fees. WHEDA’s expanded loan guarantees will be available to dairy farmers and processors through August 1, 2017.

“Governor Walker has asked that agencies work together and coordinate efforts to create innovative solutions to Wisconsin’s current dairy situation,” said Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Ben Brancel. “I am glad that WHEDA is exploring opportunities to support companies in their effort to help the displaced dairy farmers find a market for their milk.”

For 45 years, WHEDA, as an independent state authority, has provided low-cost financing for housing and small business development in Wisconsin. Since 1972, WHEDA has financed more than 84,000 affordable rental units, helped more than 122,000 families purchase a home and made more than 29,000 small business and agricultural loan guarantees.