Updated on 09/15/2011 1:12PM

House approves loans to breeders

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LEXINGTON, Ky. - Thoroughbred breeders would get emergency loans to cover losses caused by mare reproductive loss syndrome under a provision of a farm bill passed by the House of Representatives Oct. 5.

Approved by a 291-201 vote, the bill goes to the Senate, which likely will considered it by year's end.

The bill includes two relief provisions for horse breeders. Horsemen who sustain losses from MRLS, which caused abortions in many mares in central Kentucky this spring, are eligible for emergency funds. And horse breeders are added to the list of agricultural producers who are eligible for emergency loans under the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.

If passed, the bill would allow breeders to apply for emergency loans if they have lost at least 30 percent of healthy foals in mares that they either own or board. Loans may not exceed $500,000.

Kentucky representatives Ken Lucas and Ernie Fletcher, supported by Texas Congressman Larry Combest, led the effort to include the measure related specifically to MRLS. Fletcher and Minnesota representative Collin Peterson sponsored the provision to treat horse breeders as livestock producers.