Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack thanked Speaker Nancy Pelosi for quickly passing the Inflation Reduction Act. The legislation passed by Congress will create two new funds to help farmers. One, worth $2.2 billion, will provide financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and forest owners facing discrimination before 2021. The other provides $3.1 billion to the Department of Agriculture to make payments for loans or loans modifications to farmers in financial difficulty.
Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, said in a statement, "The Inflation Reduction Act will provide significant support for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners as they care for our precious land, adapt and mitigate to climate change and ensure America remains a food secure nation. With historic investments in a clean energy economy, the Inflation Reduction Act will create good-paying jobs and more economic opportunity in rural communities across the country. Rural Americans will see lower utility bills and appreciate the fiscally responsible way the law lowers deficits. The Inflation Reduction Act will also lower costs for seniors, who make up a higher percentage of rural populations than more urban areas, by capping their annual out of pocket costs at the pharmacy and giving Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices.
“The Inflation Reduction Act builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments in rural America and furthers the commitment to rural communities demonstrated in the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build critical infrastructure, to protect communities from wildfire and extreme heat and to drive climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy initiatives nationwide.
“President Biden knows that when rural communities succeed, America succeeds. I look forward to the President signing the Inflation Reduction Act, implementing its historic provisions at USDA, and investing a better future for rural America and all of America.”
The new funds will replace a $4 billion program that was designed to help about 15,000 farmers who received loans from the federal government or bank loans guaranteed by the Department of Agriculture. These included farmers and ranchers who were subject to racial or ethnic prejudice, including blacks, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, or Hispanics.