U.S. farm agency to provide additional $123 million in debt relief

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By Leah Douglas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. farmers who are struggling economically will receive another $123 million in debt relief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under a program funded by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the agency said Monday.

The IRA allocated $3.1 billion to USDA to provide debt relief for farmers in economic distress.

“Through this assistance, USDA is focusing on generating long-term stability and success for distressed borrowers,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

The aid will be distributed starting in April and will go to farmers who meet specific criteria, like those who are past-due on a direct loan issued by the agency or whose interest owed on a loan exceeds the principal.

USDA issues direct and guaranteed loans to farmers through its Farm Service Agency for operating costs or for purchasing land.

In October, the agency distributed $800 million under the relief program to 11,000 farmers who were behind on loan payments, and it cleared debt held by 2,100 farmers who had been foreclosed upon but still owed money to the agency.

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