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BrownfieldAgNews reports:

The Farm Service Agency has issued its first notice of available funds to socially disadvantaged farmers through the American Rescue Plan Act.

Under the ARPA, FSA will pay 120 percent of its direct, guaranteed and farm storage facility loan balances to socially disadvantaged farmers that were outstanding as of January 1st.

Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux tells Brownfield the program seeks to provide equity to minority farmers.

"Simply not having access to an FSA or FMHA loan a generation or generation and a half ago, is nearly a million-dollar negative impact on the outcome for a producer just in the lost opportunity of favorable treatment," Ducheneaux said.

He said there is no application for ARPA because FSA is reaching out to eligible borrowers through letters. Ducheneaux said while he hasn't talked to producers directly, he's heard positive feedback on the program.

"Many producers think it's too good to be true, many producers see this as a once in a multi-generation opportunity to really improve their economic standing," he said. "And they're making plans to improve their ability to serve their community as this comes to reality."

Socially disadvantaged farmers, as outlined in the 2018 Farm Bill, include Black or African American, Native American or Alaskan native, Asian American or Pacific Island, and Hispanic or Latino farmers.

FSA's website contains information on frequently asked questions, a link to the AD-2047 form that declares ethnicity, and news updates on the program.

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