Economy
7:16 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

Gov. Snyder approves loans for weather-wracked Michigan farmers

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has approved loans to Michigan fruit farmers who sustained an estimated $210 million in losses following rough spring weather. 

A one-time $15 million appropriation covering some costs for banks that offer loans to farmers and processors were among a number of bills signed Tuesday in Lansing.

“This is the worst natural disaster to strike Michigan’s agricultural industry in more than 50 years,” Snyder said in a written statement, refering to the state's wild swings in temperatures earlier this year, from the abnormally warm temperatures in March and the following freeze-ups. 

“Agriculture is a key component of our economy, and these loans will help keep our fruit farmers afloat until next season," Snyder said.

Snyder calls crop losses from the abnormally warm temperatures in March and the following freeze-ups "the worst natural disaster to strike Michigan's agricultural industry in more than 50 years."

Estimates suggest a loss of 90 percent to apple and tart cherry crops, and 95 percent to the peach crop.

Snyder has also signed bills to increase the maximum penalty for first-degree child abuse to life in prison and 10 years for a first offense of second-degree child abuse.