USDA Assists Socially Disadvantaged Producers

USDA Assists Socially Disadvantaged Producers
Associate Professor and Extension Policy Specialist
Department of ag building in Washington D.C.

Morning view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Headquarters Whitten Building after a few days of rain. USDA Photo by Preston Keres (Flickr).

This article was first published by Nebraska Farmer on June 3, 2021 and is excerpted here with permission.

In May, USDA began implementation of farm debt relief and other assistance for socially disadvantaged producers as authorized through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was approved by Congress and President Joe Biden in March.

The debt relief and other assistance is substantial and could be described as unprecedented even as it also could be described as a product of more than 100 years of evolving challenges and attention to issues of prejudice and discrimination in federal agricultural programs.

The assistance amounts to about $5 billion out of a reported total of $16 billion in agricultural and food system assistance in the latest COVID-19 relief package, but it represents only a fraction of the total $1.8 trillion in projected spending under the legislation.

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