Texas Farmers Affected By Loan Suspension

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SAN ANTONIO. A federal judge in Wisconsin has stopped a controversial loan forgiveness program for minority farmers across the country. Until a decision is made, some Texas farmers are wondering about the future of their operations.

Dora Peralta runs her family farm outside of San Antonio in Natalia, Texas. It is a labor of love that has lasted for over three decades.

Peralta’s father founded the farm on which she grew up. After he retired, she became his natural successor.

Smallholder farming is an unstable business.

“There are good days when we’re doing well, and there are days when the farm is terrible because, you know, we don’t have enough water or we don’t have enough food, it doesn’t produce enough,” Peralta said.

Isolating the pandemic has exacerbated agricultural stress.

“We had all this salad, we had all this Swiss chard, we had beets, we had spinach, and there were no markets,” Peralta said.

But there is no more stress than watching her husband Juan fight for his life in the intensive care unit last winter.

“They didn’t think he would survive, the oxygen wasn’t working, the ventilator wasn’t working, his lungs were just full of shit, and COVID took over his lungs,” Peralta said.

Given the agricultural spending after a tough year and medical bills, Peralta says she would welcome the suspension of the federal aid program.

“If he comes back, I would like to get help, yes,” Peralta said.

But until a decision is made about the future of the loan forgiveness program, Dora and Huang say they will celebrate their ability to keep farming.

“Very lucky, very lucky to stay alive. Many prayers, many prayers from the community from everywhere, ”said Juan Peralta.

As difficult as the last year has been financially, they say there is no other life for them.

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