This article was posted today on the USDA’s website, so I thought I’d repost it here. In the weeks to come, I look forward to following the rollout of the program mentioned below and to speaking with farmers who qualify for it. My goal is to document this process in hopes of gauging the impact of what could be a monumental boost for Black farmers who were not included in the Pigford v Glickman suit or who still found themselves in debt after receiving settlement relief.
FAQs on American Rescue Plan Debt Relief for Socially Disadvantaged Borrowers
Posted by Zach Ducheneaux, Administrator, Farm Service Agency in FarmingApr 16, 2021
Earlier this week, we posted important information about the American Rescue Plan debt relief payments for socially disadvantaged producers. The American Rescue Plan includes provisions for USDA to pay up to 120% of loan balances, as of January 1, 2021, for Farm Service Agency (FSA) Direct and Guaranteed Farm Loans and Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSFL).
If you are a Black, Native American/Alaskan Native, Asian American or Pacific Islander, or are of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity, with one of the loans listed above, you are eligible for the loan payment. FSA is working hard to ensure that we provide this relief as expeditiously as possible to those who qualify. As a producer myself, I understand the importance of being able to plan finances accordingly. That’s why I encourage you look at our frequently asked questions at www.farmers.gov/americanrescueplan/arp-faq to learn more about the process and how to prepare. And please check back periodically at www.farmers.gov/americanrescueplan for updates. In the meantime, USDA and FSA will continue to do outreach to the socially disadvantaged producer community to ensure you have accurate, timely information.
When the time comes, there will be no application fee, and the FSA is making plans to do any necessary paperwork on your behalf. We understand that there are community-based organizations that you trust to assist you with USDA activities. Our FAQs provide guidance on working with trusted organizations. My goal as Administrator of FSA is to build and earn that same trust.
Our frequently asked questions also give guidance to eligible borrowers who may be uncertain of their demographic designation on file with FSA. If this applies to you, I encourage you to call your local Service Center to verify your classification on record. If an update or correction is needed, you may either fill out an AD-2047 form (PDF, 234 KB) and return it to your local service center or call them to update your record, including race and ethnicity. Find your local Service Center at farmers.gov/service-locator.
If you have questions, we’ve developed a list of those that we’re getting most often, and if yours isn’t answered, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
For our friends in the lending community, your cooperation, commitment to our shared customers, and patience as we navigate this process is greatly appreciated. We value our partnership. If you have questions about the process as it applies to your institution, please reach out to your FSA contacts.
For the rest of our stakeholders, the Farm Service Agency is open for business and delivering programs and services to all producers at an historic pace; all the while taking every precaution to help us turn the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic and get our lives and our economy back on track.
The Farm Service Agency is at your service and we look forward to providing updates on this important topic. Please continue to watch www.farmers.gov/americanrescueplan for more.
Please view the article linked below for more context on Pigford v Glickman.