UPDATED 2:08 PM PT – Sunday, May 23, 2021
The Department of Agriculture has said it will be rolling out loan forgiveness payments aimed at minority farmers. The fund was established in order to provide government aid to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
Recent reports have said around $4 billion will be distributed as part of the American Rescue Plan and farmers should expect to see payments beginning in June. According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the program will benefit up to 13,000 Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander farmers.
USDA is recommitting itself to gaining the trust and confidence of America’s farmers and ranchers using a new set of tools provided in the American Rescue Plan to increase opportunity, advance equity and address systemic discrimination in USDA programs. https://t.co/0nnYFjLrC2 pic.twitter.com/nwOqVUnhBU
— Secretary Tom Vilsack (@SecVilsack) May 21, 2021
The debut comes after Black farmers accused the USDA of delaying the start of the program, while white farmers reportedly are criticizing it as being discriminatory. This specific debt relief plan is receiving backlash and multiple lawsuits from those being excluded.
Reports added that three of the biggest banking groups have voiced their opposition of the program. They claim banks will lose out on interest payments over the longevity of the loan and are pushing for the Agriculture Department to compensate them in return.