On August 16, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. It offers a historic, once-in-a-generation investment and opportunity for the agricultural communities that USDA serves. The Inflation Reduction Act will help producers stay on the farm, help prevent producers from becoming ineligible for future assistance, and promote climate-smart agriculture by increasing access to conservation assistance.
Funds for Financially Distressed Borrowers (Section 22006)
Section 22006 of the IRA provides $3.1 billion for USDA to provide relief for distressed borrowers with certain Farm Service Agency (FSA) direct and guaranteed loans. The law directs USDA to expedite assistance for those borrowers whose agricultural operations are at financial risk.
As of April 2023, USDA has begun distributing nearly $1.5 billion of these funds.
On October 18, 2022, USDA allocated up to $1.3 billion for initial steps to help distressed borrowers, which are underway now. This includes both automatic and case-by-case assistance. On March 27, 2023, USDA announced an additional approximate $123 million in automatic financial assistance for qualified distressed borrowers.
Learn more about Inflation Reduction Act Assistance for Distressed Borrowers.
USDA continues to work on longer-term assistance and improving the way that USDA approaches borrowing and loan servicing. More information will be posted to this webpage as it becomes available.
Funds for Producers Facing Discrimination (Section 22007)
Meanwhile, Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act provides $2.2 billion in financial assistance for farmers who have experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs. USDA recognizes the Department has not done enough historically to ensure all customers have equal access to its programs and services.
On March 1, 2023, USDA announced next steps in implementing this section of the law and distributing the related funding, which includes contracting with nongovernment program administrators by late spring 2023. USDA plans to make payments by the end of the year.
IRA assistance is now available through Natural Resources Conservation Service’s oversubscribed conservation programs for agricultural producers. NRCS accepts producer applications for its conservation programs year-round, but for fiscal year 2024 funding, producers interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program or Conservation Stewardship Program should apply by their state’s ranking dates to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Funding is provided through a competitive process and will include an opportunity to address the unmet demand from producers who have previously sought funding for climate-smart conservation activities.
Learn more from our September 28, 2023 news release.
Approximately $19.5 billion of Inflation Reduction Act funds will support USDA’s conservation programs. This includes:
- $8.45 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
- $4.95 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program
- $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program
- $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
- $1 billion for the Conservation Technical Assistance Program
These are oversubscribed programs that are well known to farmers and ranchers. This additional investment will help farmers and ranchers implement expanded conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase storage of carbon in their soil and trees.
Learn more about Inflation Reduction Act conservation assistance.
- September 28, 2023 News Release: Biden-Harris Administration Makes Available Historic $3 Billion for Climate-Smart Practices on Agricultural Lands Through Investing in America Agenda
- Factsheet: Discrimination Financial Assistance Program
- March 27, 2023 News Release: USDA Announces Additional Assistance for Distressed Farmers Facing Financial Risk
- Factsheet: IRA 22006 Additional Automatic Payments for Distressed Borrowers
- March 1, 2023 News Release: USDA Announces Next Steps in Providing Financial Assistance to Borrowers Who Have Faced Discrimination
- February 13, 2023 News Release: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Availability of Inflation Reduction Act Funding for Climate-Smart Agriculture Nationwide
- Factsheet: NRCS Conservation Programs and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
- Factsheet: Harnessing the IRA to Support Western Agricultural Landscapes
- November 17, 2022 News Release: USDA Requests Public Input on Implementation of Inflation Reduction Act Funding | Natural Resources Conservation Service
- Factsheet: section 22006 Inflation Reduction Act Assistance for Distressed Borrowers
- October 18, 2022 News Release: USDA Provides Payments of nearly $800 Million in Assistance to Help Keep Farmers Farming
- October 13, 2022 News Release: USDA Seeking Public Comment on a New Provision to Provide Assistance to Agricultural Producers Who Have Experienced Discrimination
- White House Fact Sheet - Inflation Reduction Act
Inflation Reduction Act in Action Blogs
Inflation Reduction Act in Action | Farm Loans: Harvesting Resilience – The Redemption Story of a North Carolina Farmer
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