Black farmers are receiving relief under President Joe Biden’s stimulus bill.
Farmer of colors, specifically, Black farmers, are getting more than $4 billion in government aid, Yahoo! Finance reported. The money is part of the American Rescue Plan, a 1.9 trillion bill signed by the Biden administration to boost the economy during the pandemic.
The report states that 120% of Black farmers are in outstanding debt from unpaid USDA Farm Services Agency loans, direct and guaranteed loans, and related taxes. In addition, Black farmers need outreach, training, education, technical assistance, grants and loans, and funding for improving access.
More than $3 million dollars will be used for loan forgiveness and paying off debts and taxes, while the remaining $1.1 billion will go toward the aforementioned needs, USA Today reported.
According to Yahoo!, Black farmers missed out on $50 billion in government aid under former President Donald Trump.
“Direct farm loans to Black farmers fell by more than half under the previous administration and just 00.09% of the $26 billion in direct payments to all farmers [under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program] went to Black farmers under the previous administration,” USDA Spokesperson Matt Herrick said, Yahoo! Finance reported. “We know that socially disadvantaged farmers have struggled to fully succeed due to systemic discrimination and a cycle of debt that began decades ago and was only made worse by COVID-19.”
The American Rescue Plan was devised not only to tackle COVID-19 issues but systematic racism as well.
Members of Congress, now dominated by Democrats, have cited that the USDA tends to be biased toward minority farmers. The solution was to provide debt relief to “root out generations of systemic racism” within the farming industry, USA Today reported.
“[The bill] provides historic debt relief to Black, Indigenous, Hispanic and other farmers of color who, for generations, have struggled to fully succeed due to systemic discrimination and a cycle of debt. We cannot ignore the pain and suffering that this pandemic has wrought in communities of color,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
Vilsack served in the same position under President Barack Obama’s administration.