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SMIF initiates tornado recovery fund

The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation has established a special recovery fund to assist farm and business operations affected by the June 17 tornadoes in southern Minnesota.

The fund was initiated with $25,000 each from SMIF and AgStar. It has since been added to by other companies.

SMIF President Tim Penny said the organization established a recovery fund for businesses affected by flooding in southeastern Minnesota a few years ago, disbursing quick-start recovery grants of $1,000 to $10,000.

For the June 17 disaster, the group decided to provide similar assistance in the form of modest $1,000 grants to affected farmers or business owners in Freeborn, Faribault, Steele and Olmsted counties.

“Our farmers and rural business operations are a huge economic engine here in southern Minnesota,” Penny said. “We recognize that many of them will have uncompensated losses from the violent tornadoes that swept through our rural areas. We believe our $1,000 grants will help them with some of their immediate needs so they can get back in business quickly.”

He said while he realizes the $1,000 will only be a small fraction of the uncompensated losses, every little bit helps.

Applicants will need to certify their farm or business and describe the damage they received, along with providing other basic information.

Penny said the fund focuses specifically on devastation from the June 17 tornadoes, though there were some lesser storms the next week.

He anticipated there will be a quick turnaround of the funds, estimating that between 50 and 80 farmers and business owners are eligible.

SMIF has already received 20 applications.

Applications are available online at www.smifoundation.org or by calling 507-455-3215.

The deadline to apply is July 30. Funds will be available until expended.