Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack wants his department to use its administrative flexibility to provide relief to individuals and businesses in struggling agriculture industries. The Secretary has ordered USDA's Rural Development and the Farm Service Agency to use all available means to help producers, processors and other small businesses who have been hit by worsening economic conditions.
"The Obama Administration is committed to doing everything it can to help families and businesses in agriculture to get through these tough economic times," said Vilsack. "Not only is this effort critical to restoring economic prosperity in America's rural communities, it is essential to ensure that Americans continue to have access to a safe, secure, and healthy food supply."
The assistance includes the Farm Service Agency's increased effort to provide loan assistance to livestock producers and the Rural Development Business and Industry Loan program which has been structured to provide relief to processors and other small businesses in agriculture industries.
Some of USDA's efforts include encouraging guaranteed lenders to use all options available to assist FSA guaranteed borrowers, such as lowering payments on chattel loans through debt rescheduling; deferring part of scheduled payments; and writing down part of a delinquent loan.
Also, Rural Development's Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan program, which supports the development of private businesses, has been put to work helping processors and other businesses connected with the agricultural sector of the economy. Business and Industry loans are available to help cooperative organizations, corporations, partnerships, nonprofit groups; federally recognized Indian tribes, public bodies and individuals.