John Newton, Ph.D., has provided some great information on the agricultural assistance to be provided through the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package (the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) in an AFBF Market Intel piece from March 8, 2021. One portion of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 deals with providing assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers, defined as Black, Hispanic, Native American or Asian American, farmers or ranchers, with outstanding USDA loan debt as of January 1, 2021.  

While the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 does not appropriate funds directly, it’s estimated that $4 billion will be used to provide direct payments of up to 120% in USDA debt relief for socially disadvantaged farmers. The loans include USDA Farm Service Agency direct farm loans, USDA guaranteed loans and Commodity Credit Corporation farm storage loans, among others. The additional 20% is intended to pay off the taxes associated with the amount of the direct payment related to the outstanding debt. In addition to the debt forgiveness, the act appropriates $1.01 billion to provide outreach, training, education, technical assistance, grants and loans, and funding to educational institutions to help improve land access for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and address heir’s property issues, among other issues. In total, more than $5 billion is expected to fund provisions designed to provide assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers or provide debt relief for these farmers and ranchers.

For more information about a history of discrimination toward socially disadvantaged farmers in USDA program participation, check out: