On Sunday, August 7, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which, if approved by the House of Representatives and signed into law, will provide critical relief to farmers and ranchers whose current operations are at financial risk as well as resources and assistance to underserved farmers and ranchers.
If enacted, the IRA would authorize $3.1 billion in payments and loan modification support to distressed borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans by the Farm Service Agency, focusing on providing relief to those borrowers whose agricultural operations are at financial risk. Additionally, the IRA would authorize $250 million in grants and loans to eligible entities for the purpose of improving access to land, along with $125 million aimed at providing greater technical assistance resources and $250 million in additional funding for agriculture-related research and education initiatives. Finally, the IRA would provide up to $2.2 billion in financial assistance to farmers and ranchers deemed to have experienced discrimination by USDA’s farm lending programs.
"At IAC, we remain cautiously optimistic that if the Inflation Reduction Act becomes law, the Tribal producers we serve will have direct and immediate access to provisions aimed at supporting underserved farmers and ranchers, as well as those whose operations are in financial risk," said Kari Jo Lawrence, the Executive Director of the IAC. “Due to the pandemic and other issues, the country is beginning to understand better the critical importance of food security and the need to support more localized food sources. The producers who are eligible for assistance under the Inflation Reduction Act are key to securing our local and regional food supply chain.”
Upon the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, with the assistance and support for underserved farmers, ranchers, and foresters intact, the IAC encourages the United States Department of Agriculture to implement regulations that reflect the intent of this legislation–to support underserved farmers and ranchers, including Tribal producers who have spent decades championing the need for USDA program access and agency accountability.