ICYMI: USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack: Why debt relief for Black and minority farmers is major civil rights victory
For Black and minority farmers, the American Rescue Plan could represent one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in decades.
The American Rescue Plan became law two months ago, and already we’ve seen hunger drop more than 40%. The unemployment rate has fallen by more than half thanks to the creation of more than 1.5 million new jobs.
Those $1,400 checks have allowed families to pay down debt built up over the pandemic. And federal dollars have brought safe, effective COVID-19 vaccinations to nearly 160 million Americans across the country.
For Black and minority farmers, the American Rescue Plan could represent one of the most significant pieces of civil rights legislation in decades. That’s because deep within the law is a provision that responds to decades of systemic discrimination perpetrated against farmers and ranchers of color by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The law directs USDA to pay off the farm loans of nearly 16,000 minority farmers and begin to address longstanding racial equity challenges that have plagued farmers of color for generations.Today, after months of planning, USDA begins this historic debt relief program.