Financial breather for 10% of USDA borrowers
The Biden administration announced a temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures of farmers who borrowed money from the USDA and are in financial distress. More than 12,000 borrowers, approximately 10% of all of its agricultural borrowers, were eligible for the relief, said the USDA on Wednesday.
“The temporary suspension is in place until further notice and is expected to continue while the national COVID-19 disaster declaration is in place,” said the USDA.
The National Farmers Union said the suspension would be particularly beneficial to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers. “As a country, we really can’t afford to lose farmers,” said NFU president Rob Larew. “By suspending debt collections and foreclosures, the agency will help struggling farmers stay on their land and continue growing food for their fellow Americans.”
Covered by the suspension were loans made directly to producers by the USDA and farm storage facility loans. The USDA operates a variety of loan programs, including guarantees of loans issued by commercial lenders, such as banks.