The government is attempting to make amends for its mismanagement of the agriculture industry by providing debt forgiveness for minority farmers. But a judge recently put that money on hold. A Virginia farmer, for example, barely kept a part of his farm after the USDA threatened to auction it off. A man from Kansas, meanwhile, lost the land that his grandparents homesteaded. And an Arkansas farmer is hanging on by a thread.
The government’s announcement is an attempt to make amends for decades of discrimination against minority farmers. Under the American Rescue Plan Act, the USDA allocated $4 billion for debt relief for disadvantaged farmers of color. This measure was meant to correct centuries of discriminatory practices against black farmers by the federal government. While many critics hailed the program as an important step toward racial equity, some lawmakers and White farmers were not pleased by the delay in implementing the program.
While the government’s debt relief program is expected to go into effect in June, a legal battle over the funding for it has created considerable panic. Currently, only 1% of the funds that would be provided to these farmers go to minority-owned farms. Some farmers have complained about this deteriorating situation and say they no longer have access to credit because of it. But the plan has the potential to change this and give Black farmers a new lease on their land.
The government’s debt relief for US minority farmers program will provide 20 percent additional money to those who qualify under the law. The new debt relief program will help millions of Americans with farming problems, and this will come as a welcome relief. It will also make debt relief more affordable. And that is exactly what this government is trying to do. It will provide debt relief to minority farmers, including those who are most impacted by the government’s ebola program.
The American Rescue Plan Act requires the USDA to make payments worth 120% of the qualifying farmers’ indebtedness to the government. The government has set aside $4 billion for this purpose. The payments will cover their loan debts and any related taxes. They are broken into two steps – a 20% direct deposit for taxes and a loan payment from the Treasury to the USDA. The programs will benefit Black, Asian, and American producers.
The USDA is fighting the lawsuit and has agreed to provide debt relief for US minority farmers if the federal court upholds the ruling. This ruling may be significant for farmers. Debt relief is expected to begin rolling in June – May 21 based on financial need. But if this does not happen, it may mean disaster for farmers. So, what can be done? There are some basic rules that will help them.