Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.)issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement that thousands of farmers and ranchers of color will begin receiving debt relief in June as part of the American Rescue Plan:
“Growing up on a small family farm in Nambé, I know how important farming and ranching is for New Mexico’s economy and our way of life. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the agriculture industry, and as the federal government mobilized to support our farmers and ranchers last year, Hispanic, Native American, and Black farmers were all too often left out in the cold. That’s why I worked to secure debt relief to help farmers and ranchers of color make ends meet and continue their operations. This debt relief also sends a strong message that the USDA is willing to do right by New Mexico communities after generations of discrimination toward farmers and ranchers of color,” said Luján. “The American Rescue Plan is working, and my office stands ready to assist New Mexicans take full advantage of this debt relief.”
The American Rescue Plan included $4 billion in direct relief to help farmers and ranchers of color pay off outstanding USDA farm loan debts and related taxes, and help them respond to the economic impacts of the pandemic. Eligible farmers and ranchers will receive a notice from the USDA. If New Mexicans believe they are eligible for debt relief and do not receive notice by the end of June, please contact Senator Luján’s office for assistance by visiting lujan.senate.gov or by calling 202-224-6621.