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USDA loans could help drought-stricken Arizona ranchers and farmers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on Monday announced a new $100 million loan guarantee program supplied by USDA funds that may help some drought-stricken Arizona ranchers and farmers.

The funding was already allocated with the passage of the American Rescue Plan in March.

“Resources may go to commodity producers who aren’t going to have a crop. Resources may go to livestock producers who are faced with additional costs or who suffered losses as a result,” he said.

According to Vilsack, the loans are also aimed at bottlenecks in the food supply chain and “providing financing for such things as mobile processing facilities, cold storage capacity expansion, or producer groups establishing a co-op to brand or market their product.”

He added, "It's a very flexible effort here on the part of the [Biden] administration and on the part of Congress to try to provide as much help and assistance given the magnitude of the drought." 

Tom Maxedon is the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition on Saturday and Sunday from 6-10 a.m. and All Things Considered on Monday from 3-6 p.m.