U.S. Cattlemen: More money needed for COVID-19 relief
The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association sent congressional agricultural leaders a letter today that more money will be needed to address COVID-19-related losses.
USCA noted that its economic impact report showed approximately $14.6 billion in losses, but that USDA has announced only $5.5 billion in payments for the cattle industry.
In addition to addressing the funding gap, USCA also recommends the following changes in any future coronavirus relief packages to lessen the economic impact of COVID-19 on livestock producers:
▪ Extend the current timeframe for payment eligibility to include total sales of eligible livestock, by species and class, between Jan. 15, 2020, to May 15, 2020. The market collapse was most severe in April and May, which is not adequately covered in the current program structure, USCA said.
▪ As written, CFAP covers only 25% of the drop in cattle inventory, according to the letter. The program should cover actual losses, or a percentage high enough to capture the average drop in cattle inventory due to COVID-19.
▪ The $250,000 payment limits put in place stifle the program’s ability to address actual losses, especially for small and mid-sized producers.