In brief

State Treasury providing farmers relief when applying for loans

LANSING — Michigan farmers who sustained devastating crop losses due to this spring’s heavy rain and flooding can now receive relief when applying for low-interest loans, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

The state Treasury Department has begun implementing the $15 million Agriculture Loan Origination Program. Approved by the Michigan Legislature and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the program enables financial institutions to make low-interest loans to farmers, growers, processors and farm-related retailers. “Agriculture is a critical piece of our state’s economy,” State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said. “These loans will help our farmers until next year’s planting season. Treasury is ready to begin processing applications and making these funds available so we can provide relief to Michigan’s farmers.” Farmers should check with their local banks and other financial institutions to see if they are participating in the Agriculture Loan Origination Program. The state is paying the loan origination fees to reduce the cost of the loans, while the financial institutions are assuming the risk associated with providing the loans. The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has launched an online resource and information portal so farmers can find the help they need this year. The site is being updated as new information is identified, including resources from partners like Michigan State University Extension and the United States Department of Agriculture.

“Michigan’s farming community was hit hard by a trifecta of weather events this year – extreme cold, severe snow, and torrential rainfalls. This loan program underscores Michigan’s commitment to help our farming families move forward,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “Eliminating the loan origination fees helps alleviate some of the financial distress many of our farmers are already feeling from low commodity prices and more.” For farmer-related disaster relief information, go to www.michigan. gov/cropdisaster. — G.G.

David LaLumia selected as new Executive Director

LANSING — Board President Laura Sutter announced that David LaLumia has been appointed Executive Director of the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan (4AM). “Dave is an experienced leader who will bring his public policy background and health care acumen to our network at a critical time” said Sutter. LaLumia comes to 4AM from the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM) as their President and CEO. During his time with HCAM he was directly responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Association’s management while representing member nursing homes and long-term care providers. Mr. LaLumia spent the longest segment of his career, over 25 years, with the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards (MACMHB) as their Executive Director. MACMHB serves Michigan’s community mental health organizations who are directly involved with coordinating, purchasing and directly operating services to support individuals with mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders. — G.G.