The U.S. Senate passed a housing bill on Wednesday that included an amendment offered by Sens. Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) that could lead to more farmers and ranchers being able to restructure their loans as an alternative to foreclosure. 

The Feingold-Gillibrand provision requires the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to promptly examine whether lenders that have taken bailout funds should help farmers and ranchers restructure their loans. In March, Feingold and Gillibrand led a group of senators in calling on the USDA and the Treasury Department to require TARP recipients to implement a foreclosure mitigation program that includes loan restructuring for farmers, as they have already done for home loans. 

Many farm loans either include a home as part of the loan or as security against the loan, so extending this provision to farmers and ranchers would help save farms and homes from foreclosure. Feingold and Gillibrand also received a commitment by Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) to work to bring USDA and Treasury face-to-face with farm groups and farmer advocates so the agencies have a better understanding of the growing concern among farmers and ranchers. 

Source: Sen. Russ Feingold