USDA provides debt relief for some farmers
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -Farmers in our region can get loan assistance now or soon after the The USDA has announced a new program to help them stay in business, even in these difficult times.
The millions of dollars in debt cancellation come from the Inflation Reduction Act signed in August. It offers a fresh start to thousands of farmers facing financial difficulties.
Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries Commissioner Rick Pate said he knows Alabama farmers will benefit from some of this debt relief.
“If it helps some farmers in Alabama, that’s good,” Pate said.
He says the top three issues he hears from farmers right now include high fuel costs, high fertilizer prices and supply chain issues, making it difficult to get parts and spare parts. equipment.
A recent USDA report says $800 million in aid has been distributed to 13,000 farmers. On their website it says:
- Around 11,000 direct and secured borrowers defaulted on having their accounts checked. The USDA also paid the next scheduled annual installment for these direct borrowers, giving them peace of mind in the short term.
- About 2,100 borrowers whose farms were foreclosed and who still had debt had their debt resolved to stop debt collections and garnishments, making it more difficult to start fresh.
“If you farm for 20 to 30 years, you’re going to have a few bad years in there and we can’t let that take our farmers,” Pate said.
In addition to the automatic aid already provided, the USDA says an additional $500 million will be distributed to help thousands more farmers. The list on the website reads as follows:
- USDA to Administer $66 Million in Separate Automatic Payments, Using COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Funds, to Support Up to 7,000 Direct Borrowers Who Used the Catastrophe Lay-Aside Option from the FSA during the pandemic to move their scheduled payments until the end of their loans.
- The USDA is also initiating two case-by-case processes to provide additional assistance to agricultural loan borrowers. Under the first new process, the FSA will review and assist with outstanding payments from 1,600 complex cases, including cases in which borrowers face bankruptcy or foreclosure. The second new process will add a new option using existing direct lending service criteria to intervene more quickly and help approximately 14,000 borrowers in financial difficulty who seek help to avoid even becoming delinquent.
“Farming has definitely carried us through COVID,” Pate said. “I mean, I think we would all agree…we may not have any more Q-tips or computer chips that we need in China, but we got fed.”
The USDA says this first round of payments is just the start. Additional support will be provided in other phases. You can find more information here.
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