USDA announces $1 billion debt relief for 36,000 farmers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government has announced a program to provide $1.3 billion in debt relief for about 36,000 farmers who have fallen behind on loan payments or face foreclosure. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the farm loan relief program funded from $3.1 billion set aside in the Inflation Reduction Act allocated toward assisting distressed borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans administered by USDA. 

The law was passed by Congress and signed by Biden in August. 

The money announced Tuesday is the first round of payments designed to help farmers hard hit by pandemic-induced market disruptions or climate-driven natural disasters including drought stay in business or re-enter farming. 

The USDA says additional programs are to come.