NAAF Applauds the Biden Administration and Secretary Vilsack for Seeking Comment from Those Who Have Experienced USDA Lending Discrimination  

NAAF Applauds the Biden Administration and Secretary Vilsack for Seeking Comment from Those Who Have Experienced USDA Lending Discrimination  

Oct 13, 2022

Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced they are seeking public comment on the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Section 22007 addressing discrimination in USDA farm lending programs. Section 22007 of the IRA appropriates $2.2 billion for financial assistance opportunities to farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who have experienced discrimination prior to January 1, 2021.  

The 30-day comment period opens Friday, October 14, and closes on November 14, 2022. Additionally, USDA will host three virtual listening sessions on Thursday, October 20; Wednesday, October 26; and Tuesday, November 1. 

“Despite the previous barriers in this Administration’s attempt to offer assistance to producers who have experienced past discrimination, NAAF is encouraged by the continued measures to better serve those that have and continue to experience those harms. Although the solutions this Administration is seeking today differ slightly from the language previously proposed in past legislation, we believe the intent remains the same in seeking comment from those that were harmed and those entities that advocate for underserved producers. This is a continued step in the right direction. When a Native agricultural producer walks into any lending institution, they should have access to equitable support and be able to work with knowledgeable lenders who understand the intricacies of Indian Country land and agriculture,” says Toni Stanger-McLaughlin, CEO of NAAF.  

In today’s press release from USDA, Secretary Vilsack said, “The Biden-Harris Administration is deeply committed to upholding civil rights, advancing equity, and doing right by agricultural producers, especially those who USDA’s programs have not fully served.” 

Some of the provisions that USDA is seeking public comment on include, but are not limited to: 

      • How should USDA identify those who have experienced discrimination under the USDA farm loan programs? 
      • Should USDA attempt to estimate only economic losses or also non-economic losses of those who have suffered discrimination in USDA farm loan programs when calculating the amount of financial assistance provided?  
      • Should previous payments received for past claims of discrimination be considered in determining financial assistance available under section 22007? 
      • How, if at all, should USDA consider the recency of the discrimination as determined by the Secretary when determining appropriate level of financial assistance?

For more information on the open comment period and additional provisions, visit the Federal Register here 

About the Native American Agriculture Fund:

The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) provides grants to eligible organizations for business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services to support Native farmers and ranchers. The charitable trust was created by the settlement of the landmark Keepseagle v. Vilsack class-action lawsuit. NAAF is the largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to serving the Native American farming and ranching community.