On April 13, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced landmark legislation to provide debt relief to small farmers across the country. The Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act issues one-time debt relief of up to $250,000 for all farms with under $300,000 in gross income who have direct or emergency loans with USDA’s Farm Service Agency. At a time when farmers are enduring unprecedented threats to their livelihoods, farms and land, this bill will strengthen the resilience of the farmers and ranchers who feed us all and will stem further economic decline in rural economies.
Farm Aid is proud to have shaped and endorsed this critical piece of legislation. While the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, passed a few weeks ago, offers important relief to small businesses and workers who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, it does not go nearly far enough to ensure that our essential farmers and food systems can recover from this crisis, respond to the ongoing needs of local communities and light the path for a more resilient future. This bill is the first in a critical series of steps to achieve that goal.
Farm Aid is working tirelessly to ensure that a fuller range of policy needs are incorporated into the next COVID relief package put together in Congress. We must ensure that not a single farmer loses their farm, home or land from this crisis.