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Farm Storage Facility Loans

FSA’s Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade storage facilities and to purchase portable (new or used) structures, equipment and storage and handling trucks.

The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain, pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and dry peas), hay, honey, renewable biomass, fruits, nuts and vegetables for cold storage facilities, floriculture, hops, maple sap, rye, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, meat and poultry (unprocessed), eggs, and aquaculture (excluding systems that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge of water). Qualified facilities include grain bins, hay barns and cold storage facilities for eligible commodities.  

Loans up to $50,000 can be secured by a promissory note/security agreement and loans between $50,000 and $100,000 may require additional security. Loans exceeding $100,000 require additional security.

Producers do not need to demonstrate the lack of commercial credit availability to apply. The loans are designed to assist a diverse range of farming operations, including small and mid-sized businesses, new farmers, operations supplying local food and farmers markets, non-traditional farm products, and underserved producers.

To learn more about the FSA Farm Storage Facility Loan, visit  or contact your local FSA county office.  To find your local FSA county office, visit

Minnesotans Encouraged To Apply For Energy Assistance To Help Pay Heating Bills, Stay Safe

SAINT PAUL – As cold winter weather returns to the state this week, the Minnesota Department of Commerce encourages eligible Minnesotans to get help paying their heating bills through the state’s Energy Assistance Program.

“The winter weather may be slow in arriving this year, but we know there will be plenty of cold days ahead that can pose a serious challenge for Minnesotans who struggle to pay their heating bills,” said Commerce Commissioner Jessica Looman. “Heating your home is a necessity in Minnesota, and energy assistance is essential for vulnerable Minnesotans, especially low income families with young children, people with disabilities, veterans and seniors.”

Households that earn less than 50 percent of the state’s median annual income ($48,077 for a family of four) are eligible for the Energy Assistance Program.

Energy assistance funds help low-income homeowners and renters pay for heating bills through grant money paid directly to utility companies and heating fuel vendors on behalf of eligible households. The funding also helps some homeowners repair or replace malfunctioning heat systems.

In October, the Energy Assistance Program received over $102 million in federal funds, or about 90 percent of the total funds expected for the program this year. The program served over 126,000 Minnesota households last year, with an average grant of about $520.

The Minnesota Commerce Department administers the Energy Assistance Program in partnership with 30 local service providers throughout the state. The program is part of the federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

How to apply

Applicants have until May 31, 2018, to apply. However, energy assistance funding is limited and administered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Households apply through the local service provider in their area. To find your local service provider, call the Commerce Department toll-free at 800-657-3710 or visit the Energy Assistance Program section at the department’s website (


4 Reasons A Great Meal Is About How You Eat – Not What You Eat

Everyone knows it’s important to eat the right foods to live a long and healthy life, but many of us fall short of that ideal.

We eat on the run, pulling into a drive-through and scarfing down a hamburger on the way to the next appointment. We grab a candy bar at the grocery checkout and munch it on the way to the car.

And somewhere along the line we realize that just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge food by its taste, says Jane Bernard, an educator and author of Lucid Living in the Virtual Age (

“We know that taste can be misleading, at least when it comes to what’s best for us,” she says. “People love donuts, but they don’t make a nutritious breakfast. Spinach isn’t popular with many people – especially children – but it’s beneficial to our health in many ways.”

But for Bernard, a great meal is less about what you eat than how you eat it. She advocates something she calls “intuitive eating” that’s aimed at improving every dining experience – and perhaps making for a healthier diet along the way.

“Intuitive eating is deceptively simple,” Bernard says. “Focus on one meal at a time to get the most pleasure and nutrition from your food. Notice what you see, smell and taste. Check in with your body to see if you’re really hungry – because sometimes we keep eating when it’s actually time to stop.”

Although you might find yourself shedding a few pounds, intuitive eating isn’t necessarily about losing weight, she says. It’s about getting more pleasure out of your meals – and getting more pleasure from the people you have meals with. 

Bernard suggests a few exercises that can help turn you into an intuitive eater:

Smell food before putting it in your mouth. Nearly everyone has memories tied to the aroma of food. Perhaps it’s your mother baking cookies on Christmas Eve. Perhaps it’s hamburgers sizzling on a backyard grill. With most meals, people don’t take the time to savor the aroma, Bernard says.   Does it smell inviting? Greasy? Fresh? Bad? “If the food doesn’t smell right, it isn’t,” Bernard says. “Let your nose protect you and help guide choices.”

Taste food as you chew. You may think you already do this, but too often people don’t really take time to enjoy the taste, Bernard says. They wolf down their food so they can move on to whatever is next on their agenda. Tasting food helps your body relax and digest more efficiently, she says. Tasting and savoring what you eat also is good for overall health. 

Be thankful for your meal. Giving thanks doesn’t have to be limited to Thanksgiving. “Think about what food is giving you: energy, strength, health, nourishment and pleasure,” Bernard says. “If you take a little time to meditate on that, your body will relax and you will get more nourishment from your food.”

Give your stomach time to inform your brain. It takes 15 minutes before your brain gets the message from your stomach that you’ve eaten. That’s no doubt one reason people over eat. They don’t give their body time to get the message that they are getting full before gulping down even more food. “Take time to have conversations when you eat and you will eat less – and enjoy the meal more,” Bernard says.

“Eating is a necessity of life,” Bernard says. “But there’s no need to rush things. Eat just enough to feel good and trust that hunger will return and another meal will be found.”