Dem package includes ethanol, pork producer, PPE aid
The $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package that House Democrats unveiled Monday evening includes aid to ethanol plants and livestock and poultry producers who were forced to kill their animals due to processing plant shutdowns and back-ups.
The bill amends the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to add authority for the agriculture secretary to deal with removal and disposal of livestock and poultry due to supply chain interruption during a public health emergency. It also amends the CCC Charter Act to require congressional notification before disbursement of CCC funding.
The ethanol and livestock provisions are contained on page 65 of the summary of the legislation. The provisions were added to the package by the House Agriculture Committee in a two-page summary that also covers other agriculture and nutrition programs.
The summary notes that there is also aid for contract producers of livestock and poultry, a dairy industry donation program and supplemental dairy margin protection program payments and aid to specialty crops.
A rural development assistance section provides assistance to Rural Utilities Service borrowers via competitive grants to Rural Electrification Act electric and telecom borrowers who are dealing with impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations, including covering the cost of forgiving ratepayer debt, to ensure they may continue to provide critical services to rural communities.
The summary also provides details on a 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and flexibilities in nutrition programs.
Another section of the bill provides $2 billion in grants to state, local, tribal and territorial health departments to purchase or procure personal protective equipment and other workplace safety measures for use in containment and mitigation of COVID-19 transmission among essential workers, which would apparently apply to farmworkers and workers in slaughterhouses and food processing plants.
The grant language is on page 97, line 16 of the bill text and detailed on page 1,364, line 14 in a section titled “Public Health 15 Assistance to Essential Workers.” Read the full plan at https://appropriations.house.gov/sites/democrats.appropriations.house.gov/files/SUPP_SEP_01_ALL_xml.2020.9.28.1753.pdf.
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The Agriculture Department has established a new data report, the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement Seasonal Perishable Products Weekly Update, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service announced on Jan. 11.