Farmer & Rancher Loan Relief
Farmers, ranchers and small scale food growers are being left out of relief packages.
We need to come together to demand #FarmRanchHelp because Indian Country #CARES4Ag.
In an effort to get ahead of the looming economic crisis for farmers and ranchers in light of the COVID-19 Crisis, the Intertribal Agriculture Council in collaboration with the Indigenous Food and Ag Initiative and the Native Farm Bill Coalition have put forward some simple, common-sense, and affordable solutions that will help the 80,000 American Indian farmers and ranchers, over 500,000 other farmers and ranchers all across the nations, and the rural communities in which they reside.
Within hours of announcing the proposal, many regional and national organizations have already signed on to a letter of support for the initiative, and many more are pending. Notable on that list are Farm Aid, Native American Agriculture Fund, United States Cattlemen's Association, Ranchers-Cattlemen Legal Action Fund, NDN Collective, National Latino Farmers & Ranchers Trade Association, Indian Land Tenure Foundation, Akiptan CDFI, and Native American Natural Foods.
Part one of the proposal, if approved, would provide automatic deferrals of principal payments due on federal loan in 2020 and 2021; in addition to extending the maturity date of those notes by 2 years. A strong argument can be made that this would actually save the taxpayers money, as the deferral would be tied to keeping the current interest rate, rather than having to refinance at a lower interest rate in the fall.
The second part of the proposal would allow the USDA Secretary to make grant payments to lenders, in exchange for those lenders offering the same principal deferral for 2020 and 2021 to their borrowers. The grant payment would equal an up-front buy-down of the interest rate by 2%.
Both of these provisions would include the borrowers making interest only payments on notes due in 2020 and 2021, to avoid capitalization of interest, and the downward spiral that brings.
The final provision would change the law to allow Farm Service Agency Farm Ownership Loans to be used for the refinancing of any debt, and significantly increase the capital available for this program. Prohibitions on this program currently prohibit its use for refinancing of debt. This change would allow producers to leverage their equity in order to have more affordable loan payments in the future.
A full docket of advocacy documents are available for your customization and use. Should you have any questions, reach out to Zach Ducheneaux, Executive Director of the IAC.
605-222-3852 is his cell phone number, and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.