Black and Brown Farmers Say Inflation Cuts Bill Breaks Promise of Remedies for ‘Past Mistakes’

Massive inflation cuts will have an equally big impact on farmers of color who were promised debt relief more than a year ago.

This law repeals and replaces sections of the American Relief Plans Act of 2021 (ARPA). discriminated against Opposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since it was passed in March 2021, funding has been mired in a legal maze, with multiple lawsuits from banks and white farmers alleging discrimination.

The Control Inflation Act passed the House last week and is now heading to President Joe Biden’s desk for signature. In its final form, this law repeals Section 1005 of his ARPA. ARPA funded “disadvantaged farmers,” defined by law as those who were subject to racial or ethnic prejudice. Instead, the IRA is giving her $3.1 billion to economically “suffering” farmers (regardless of race). Also included is her $2.2 billion to farmers who have experienced discrimination and can prove it.

John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Association of Black Farmers, said, “By doing away with it all, you’re really going back on your word and closing contracts between black and other farmers of color and the USDA.” You will break it.

many farmers waiting Over a year due to promised debt relief, the status of the loan is unknown. Farms are protected from foreclosure under a moratorium issued by the Biden administration during the pandemic, but some farmers fear losing their farms once the moratorium is lifted.

“[Congress]basically conceded defeat,” said Ebony Woodruff, a Louisiana-based agriculture and food attorney.

Woodruff said the bill’s vague language would increase competition for funding, and farmers of color could be considered ineligible if they stopped making loan payments after receiving notice of relief under ARPA. said to be sexual.

“They’re really at a loss,” she said. “I really don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Boyd Jr. said the originally promised debt relief could have saved many black-owned farms.

“Debt relief can provide a whole new start for farmers who are in arrears or who have USDA funds, operating loans, or equipment loans,” he said.

Instead, the act, as written, would lead to further loss of black-owned farmland, Boyd Jr. said.

Black-owned farmland has already declined significantly over the last 100 years.According to recent information studyAbout $326 billion worth of farmland is lost to black farmers due to discriminatory lending practices in the USDA, but researchers admit it’s likely to be a severe undervaluation. The American Rescue Plan Act was intended to reverse this trend.

Boyd, a farmer in Virginia, said, “It was an attempt by this administration to correct past wrongs that black farmers like me have faced because of discrimination.

For now, Boyd said he hopes Biden will issue a moratorium on farm foreclosures.

“That’s the least he can do,” he said. “Farmers should not lose their farms.”

Follow Dana on Twitter @DanaHCronin This article was produced in partnership with Harvest Public Media, a collaboration of Midwestern public media newsrooms. It reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues. Follow Harvest on Twitter. @HarvestPM.

Copyright 2022 KCUR 89.3. Please visit KCUR 89.3 for more information.

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