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$208 million USDA aid to help farmers avoid foreclosure

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a substantial financial assistance program, providing about $208 million to aid farmers struggling with loans. This initiative is part of the broader Inflation Reduction Act, which includes $3.1 billion to assist distressed farm loan borrowers, aligning with the President's Investing in America agenda. 

In a move to prevent foreclosures, the USDA plans to allocate around $80 million to address delinquencies for an estimated 210 borrowers with guaranteed loans due for liquidation as of November 30, 2023. Approximately $128 million will be provided to support nearly 1,120 borrowers with outstanding direct Emergency Loans as of the same date. 

Tom Vilsack stressed the USDA's dedication to maintaining farmers on their lands, contrasting the current strategy with past practices during financial crises. The USDA is actively developing more options to prevent foreclosures, urging borrowers and lenders to explore all available program options. 

The Inflation Reduction Act has already facilitated the provision of around $1.7 billion in immediate assistance to over 30,000 distressed borrowers since August 2022, indicating the USDA's commitment to long-term improvements in loan servicing. 

Adjustments to payments will be considered for borrowers who have already received assistance under previous announcements. The USDA also continues to entertain individual assistance requests from direct loan borrowers grappling with cash flow issues or those who have implemented extraordinary measures to prevent loan delinquency. These requests must be received by December 31, 2023. 

As with all USDA Inflation Reduction Act assistance, payments are subject to taxation. Payments exceeding $600 will be reported to the IRS, and borrowers will be issued a 1099 form by FSA. Borrowers are encouraged to seek advice from tax professionals regarding any assistance received.

Source : wisconsinagconnection

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Why Rob Saik is Trying to Build the World’s Most Connected Agriculture Network

Video: Why Rob Saik is Trying to Build the World’s Most Connected Agriculture Network

In a recent interview at the SeedLink Conference in Brandon, Man., Rob Saik, author, speaker, and CEO of AGvisorPRO, took a trip down memory lane, reminiscing about the beginnings of his career and what the future holds.

Graduating from the University of Alberta in 1983, Saik embarked on a journey that started in Brandon, Man. “I got a job with Elanko, got a U-Haul truck, threw everything I had into it, drove to the Victoria Inn, and lived there for three months while they tried to find an apartment for me to move into. So I started my career in Brandon,” Saik shared.

Fast forward to the present, Saik has evolved into an accomplished author and speaker, traversing the globe to engage in high-level discussions about the future of agriculture and the critical role it plays in feeding the world. Yet, despite his global presence, he finds himself back in Brandon, addressing a group of seed growers. But why? Saik emphasizes the fundamental importance of seeds, stating, “It all begins with a seed, doesn’t it?”

Reflecting on his own experiences as a farmer, Saik expresses his excitement when a planted seed germinates and evolves into a thriving crop. He underscores the significance of technology and breeding in seed development, recognizing the crucial role they play in ensuring farmers can propagate seeds, grow profitable crops, and contribute to global food security.

Saik delves into the challenges faced by the agricultural community, particularly the rapid pace of technological advancements. He believes that the key lies in connecting farmers to experts swiftly, boosting farmers’ confidence in adopting new technologies, and ensuring the timely implementation of these advancements. According to Saik, this approach is crucial for steering agriculture towards sustainability and profitability.

As Saik works on his upcoming book, tentatively titled prAGmatic, he sheds light on its central theme. “The thesis would be that I want to write a book that takes what the consumer wants, challenges what the consumer believes, and positions that against what the farmers can actually do pragmatically,” he explains. The book aims to bridge the gap between consumer expectations and the realistic capabilities of farmers, promoting sustainable intensification as the necessary path to feed the planet.

Looking ahead to 2024, Saik emphasizes the need for enhanced connectivity within the seed industry. He discusses his platform, AgvisorPro, which is designed to facilitate connections between farmers, experts, and companies in a way that transcends conventional social media platforms. Saik envisions a credible, connected agricultural network that goes beyond the noise of platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter.

In a passionate vision for the future, Saik imagines a tool for teachers that allows them to pose questions from students, answered by verified farmers and ranchers. This, he believes, would provide an authentic and valuable educational resource, connecting classrooms with individuals who truly understand the intricacies of agriculture.