Socially disadvantaged producers including those within the hemp space will be eligible for recent debt-relief funds in the $1.9 trillion of the United States Rescue Plan of 2021.
The legislation was Congress approved and is now heading to President Joe Biden’s desk. It mandates the USDA to pay Black and Brown farmers. The payments are equal to one-hundred and twenty percent of all USDA-guaranteed loans and direct loans.
The initiative defines qualifying farmers as applicants who have experienced ethnic and racial prejudice. The additional funds are intended to offset taxes from the debt.
USDA loans assist farmers to purchase equipment and supplies required for production. However, they are not always equally distributed.
Based on the newsletter from The Counter, The Agriculture Department had created a backlog of over 14,000 discrimination cases by 2009, most of the Black farmers claimed that the department withheld loans due to their race.
Civil rights officials critiqued President Joe’s nomination of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Tom due to his role in the Department of Agriculture’s foreclosure on Black growers and partial distribution of farm loans in his previous tenure under Obama’s administration.
The provision in the relief reform is the same as the Emergency Relief For Farmers of Color Act, a policy unveiled in February to the Senate by Democratic Senators Booker Cory of New Jersey and Warnock Raphael of Georgia.
Based on the PCT (Pew Charitable Trust), Supporters of the debt reprieve initiative assert that it’s a good first step to reviving the 85% decline in Black-owned cultivation land during the past 100 years,
A different pending Senate reform, Justice For Black Growers Act, would offer more support to Black producers, including awarding land grants to undo land losses and apportion additional research funds and debt relief for Black universities and Colleges.