Democratic Representatives from New York, Maine, Vermont, and New Jersey introduced the Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act. The legislation would provide one-time debt forgiveness of up to $250,000 for farmers who hold existing loan obligations with the USDA. The Hagstrom Report said the bill would apply that one-time debt forgiveness to three types of USDA loans, including direct-farm operating loans, direct farm ownership loans, as well as emergency loans.

Farmers with an average adjusted gross income of $300,000 a year or less over the previous five years would be eligible for the debt relief. The legislation will offer a one-year window for farmers to apply for the relief. Farmers would have to commit to being actively engaged in farming for at least two years after receiving loan forgiveness. The bill has widespread support from a wide spectrum of organizations, including the National Family Farm Coalition, National Young Farmers Coalition, Farm Aid, Family Farm Action, Rural Coalition, Rural Advancement Foundation International, as well as the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment.

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