Oklahoma farmers and ranchers can now get a helping hand from Capital Hill.
The US Department of Agriculture is providing more than $ 1 billion in debt relief to struggling Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. The money is part of Congressional COVID-19 relief program.
“Oklahoma happens to be a food belt, so you have over a quarter of the socially disadvantaged farmers and producers here in Oklahoma,” said USDA director Heather Thompson.
Thompson oversees the USDA Tribal Relations Office. She says the back-up plan will help pay off 120 percent of the farm loan balance starting Jan.
“You can imagine the impact this will have on their family; they’re able to reinvest even more and produce and bring food into ranching in Oklahoma, ”Thompson added.
Thompson toured the Cherokee Nation’s new meat processing plant.
She says the factory shows how tribes can be important partners in agriculture.
“It’s not just about implementing tribal sovereignty but food sovereignty,” Thompson exclaimed.
“One of the things cattle ranchers have struggled with is’ where can I get their cattle processed? “. Sometimes the wait times are long, ”Senior Chef Chuck Hoskin Jr. told News On 6.
He says many struggling farmers are Cherokee citizens.
He says this loan relief will help in the long run.
“But, it really does spark a lot of talk about what more we can do in the Cherokee Nation. If you look or what we can do elsewhere in agriculture, but it started as a catalyst for what we can do in the future, ”Hoskin added. .
The loans will be available in June. you can apply for the loan HERE.