FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Programs Coordinator
National Family Farm Coalition Endorses Tax Forgiveness for Economically-Distressed Farmers
DECEMBER 12, 2022, WASHINGTON, DC – The National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) fully supports the Family Farmer and Rancher Tax Fairness Act introduced on December 8, 2022 by Senators Cory Booker, Debbie Stabenow, Raphael Warnock, and Tina Smith. This new legislation would eliminate the tax burden to farmers and ranchers receiving USDA debt payments from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Section 22006 of the IRA provides $3.1 billion in aid to farmers who have Farm Service Agency loans and who are facing financial hardship. Section 22007 of the IRA provides $2.1 billion in aid to farmers who experienced discrimination by the USDA’s lending practices. As of October, the USDA has distributed nearly $800 million of aid from Section 22006 to 13,000 farmers across the US.
The Family Farmer and Rancher Tax Fairness Act would further assist struggling farmers and ranchers by exempting debt relief payments from federal income taxes – eliminating an economic hardship for vulnerable producers. Family-scale producers are already strained by rising production costs and historic levels of farm debt. While NFFC has previously expressed reservations about Congress’ decision to scale-down and re-orient the focus of debt payments in the IRA, the Coalition applauds USDA’s quick roll-out of Section 22006, and Senate leaders’ efforts through the Family Farmer and Rancher Tax Fairness Act to help keep these farmers out of further debt by making these payments tax exempt.
Jim Goodman, President of NFFC, said, “Independent farmers have taken on record amounts of debt in recent years, with many suffering disastrous market losses stemming from the COVID-19 crisis, extreme weather events, and climbing production expenses. These producers should not be penalized for delayed justice in response to a worsening farm crisis that is decimating rural livelihoods. Needed debt relief should not carry the potential burden of adding more debt in the form of taxes.”
This tax relief echoes a similar provision that NFFC advocated for and that was included in the 2020 Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act. The removal of tax barriers to support family farmers is an important step towards the economic justice and recovery that NFFC has long fought for. America’s farmers – and the rural communities that depend on them – deserve every dollar of financial support that was promised to them by Congress. NFFC has been a key player in the introduction of this tax relief and will continue to tirelessly fight for fair farm gate prices to ensure food producers do not fall into debt in the first place. NFFC members, including The Federation of Southern Cooperatives and Rural Advancement Foundation International – USA, have also supported the Family Farmer and Rancher Tax Fairness Act.
Since 1986, National Family Farm Coalition has been mobilizing family farmers and ranchers to achieve fair prices, vibrant communities, and healthy foods free of corporate domination. Today, NFFC’s 31 member groups span 44 states and represent family farmers, ranchers, fisherfolk, and rural advocates across the United States.