Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that nearly $800 million has been provided to in assistance to borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) to “Help Keep Farmers Farming."
Agricultural producers, including hemp farmers, whose operations face financial risk are eligible for assistance under Section 22006 of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which passed in August directing $3.1 billion to USDA farm loan relief and nearly $40 billion toward sustainable agriculture initiatives over the next ten years.
As we reported, the IRA contains provisions providing debt relief to financially distressed farmers and victims of discrimination in USDA lending programs, replacing a loan forgiveness program for minority farmers that was blocked by courts. View eligibility requirements and the application quick guide here.
According to the USDA’s announcement, today is just the first step in efforts to assist distressed loan borrowers, respond to farmers, and continue improving the USDA loan services by providing more tools and easing unnecessary restrictions. The USDA has also released an overview of its First Phase of Assistance for Distressed Borrowers available here with details into the IRA-prompted program, from how it works to what happens next.
“The foundation of the hemp industry, like any agricultural market, is supported by the farmers who invest time, money and resources into production. Unfortunately, the nascent nature of hemp farming in the U.S. has added an additional toll to producers willing to take a chance on supporting an uncertain and over-regulated industry. The USDA assistance directed by the IRA will provide much-needed support to farmers struggling across the country and can contribute to the continued engagement in hemp production,” said Jonathan Miller, General Counsel for the U.S. Hemp Roundtable.
We strongly encourage hemp producers to review the USDA’s loan eligibility requirements to determine whether you may qualify for loan relief or assistance!
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