Without this opportunity, the damage will be catastrophic for the farmers who were promised then denied this relief, as well as their families, the communities of eaters who depend on their foods, and rural America, which can ill afford to lose another farming family, regardless of race.
The $1.9 trillion package invests almost $90 billion in rural and agriculture programs and initiatives to combat climate change, address rural disinvestment, and promote racial, economic, and environmental justice.
This debt relief bill is an opportunity to strengthen the farmers, particularly those in local and regional food systems, who stepped up to feed their communities in the face of COVID.
Small family farmers are the backbone of our food system and rural economies, and need our support in this moment of unprecedented hardship.
NFFC board president Jim Goodman: “We look forward to working with our congressional allies to make meaningful, long-term policy changes to correct the weaknesses in our food system, end systemic racism and create more equitable access to healthcare, education, fair wages and farm prices.”
NFFC member and Land Loss Prevent Project director Savi Horne: “Requests from Senator Gillibrand to USDA for information on the number of farm foreclosures, loan defaults, and the amount of debt held by small-scale and historically underserved producers under USDA’s jurisdiction since March 1, 2020, will help illustrate the disparity these farmers have faced before and during the financial stresses of COVID-19 and their ability to repay their loans while experiencing months of significant market disruptions.”
Neither the House or Senate version of the farm bill goes nearly far enough to truly improve the lives and livelihoods of family farmers and rural communities.