USDA paying off debts of minority farmers, ranchers

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NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering federal aid to pay off the debts of minority farmers. The American Rescue Plan includes $4 billion in direct relief to help pay off the current USDA farm loans and related taxes for farmers and ranchers of color in an effort to help them respond to the economic impacts of the pandemic.

The USDA reports this includes producers who are Black/African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American or Pacific Islander.

According to the USDA, Eligible Direct Loan borrowers will begin receiving debt relief letters from the Farm Service Agency in the mail on a rolling basis beginning the week of May 24. Information for Guaranteed Loan Borrowers will be available within 120 days.

The USDA urges eligible borrowers to review the letter closely, sign it, and return it to the FSA. FSA employees will then assist borrowers with any questions free of charge and will help producers complete any required documents.

If you believe you are eligible but have not been contacted by the end of June, you can contact Senator Ben Ray Lujan’s office for assistance by visiting lujan.senate.gov or by calling 202-224-6621. Additional information on American Rescue Plan debt payments can be found at farmers.gov/americanrescueplan.

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