The US House of Representatives and US Senate have now passed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue package. The bill is on its way to President Biden for his signature. The Native American Agriculture Fund applauds this important step with so many much-needed provisions to aid in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19 impacts.
The American Rescue Plan contains substantial provisions for Indian Country and for Native farmers and ranchers. The bill includes $4 billion in debt relief for socially disadvantaged producers which includes Native farmers and ranchers and another $1 billion to support a broad array of technical support to assist socially disadvantaged producers. This technical assistance will enable Black, Indigenous and other producers of color to begin to repair the harm caused by the impacts of the pandemic but also address long-standing issues related to how USDA’s programs impact farmers and ranchers. The bill also contains another $31 billion in spending that will allow Indian Country to begin to recover from the profound impacts of the pandemic.
“Indian Country and specifically Native farmers and ranchers, who are the heart and soul of NAAF’s work, have been hit hard by the pandemic. We have needed relief for a long time,” said Janie Hipp (Chickasaw), CEO of the Native American Agriculture Fund. “The American Rescue Plan will bring much needed resources to Indian Country to begin the long road of recovery. As we continue to study the ways in which the act can assist our communities, we can begin to see the lights ahead.”