U.S. lawmakers propose Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act
U.S. Representative Anthony Delgado introduced the Relief For America’s Small Farmers Act on Friday. The proposed legislation would aid small family farms by providing one-time debt forgiveness of up to $250,000 for farmers who hold existing loan obligations with the USDA.
“New York’s 19th Congressional District is home to nearly 5,000 farm operations that are essential to our upstate way of life. The Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act provides a critical lifeline for our small farmers through debt forgiveness across three types of USDA FSA loans -- Direct Farm Operating loans, Direct Farm Ownership loans and Emergency loans -- allowing more small farmers to remain operational during COVID-19 and continue to support our local food supply and farm economy. I urge the House to take up this legislation as soon as possible to get our small farmers urgently needed relief,” Delgado said in a news release.
The bill aims to protect the country’s most vulnerable farms. Farmers with an average adjusted gross income of $300,000 or less over the previous five years would qualify.
The bill would also keep farmers on their feet because farmers who benefit from it will also have to be actively engaged in farming for at least two years following forgiveness.
“Small farmers have always been the mainstay of rural America, yet for years they have struggled to survive on prices consistently below their cost of production. As farmers struggle, so do the rural communities they live in and the local businesses they support,” Jim Goodman, Board President of the National Family Farm Coalition, said. “Including the Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act in future COVID-19 legislation will help farm and ranch families survive the loss of markets and give them the opportunity to move beyond the dismal incomes they had even prior to the pandemic. The Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act can, by providing desperately needed debt relief, support producers economically through this crisis and strengthen the resilience of our local food systems.”
Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Peter Welch (VT-at large) and Tom Malinowski (NJ-07) also worked on the bill.
You can see full details here.