USDA announces additional pandemic aid to ag producers and businesses
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today, June 15, additional aid to agricultural producers and businesses as part of the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.
Earlier this year, Vilsack announced plans to use available pandemic assistance funds to address a number of gaps and disparities in previous rounds of aid. Implementation of the assistance announced today will continue within 60 days to include support to timber harvesters, biofuels, dairy farmers and processors, livestock farmers and contract growers of poultry, assistance for organic cost share, and grants for PPE.
“USDA is honoring its commitment to get financial assistance to producers and critical agricultural businesses, especially those left out or underserved by previous COVID aid,” said Vilsack. “Since January, USDA has provided more than $11 billion of assistance directly to producers and food and agriculture business.”
Aid announced today will include:
▪ $200 million: Small, family-owned timber harvesting and hauling businesses
▪ $700 million: Biofuels producers
▪ $400 million: The new Dairy Donation Program to address food insecurity and mitigate food waste and loss
▪ Approximately $580 million: Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage for small and medium farms
▪ $700 million: Pandemic Response and Safety Grants for PPE and other protective measures to help specialty crop growers, meat packers and processors, seafood industry workers, among others
▪ Up to $20 million: Additional organic cost share assistance, including for producers who are transitioning to organic
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said, “As more and more Americans get vaccinated, things are slowly returning to normal – but many businesses, including farms and ranches, are still feeling the lingering financial impacts of the pandemic. Throughout this crisis, we’ve appreciated USDA’s efforts to offer family farmers the help they’ve needed to stay solvent despite market and supply chain disruptions; the additional support announced today, along with last week’s news about the Build Back Better plan, will help offset any remaining losses and begin to lay down the foundation for a more secure, competitive, and resilient food system.”
RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper said, “We are pleased to see $700 million in emergency relief for biofuel producers included in today’s USDA announcement, and we are happy to hear USDA intends to administer the aid in the next 60 days. This assistance comes at a critical time, as ethanol producers are still struggling to recover from COVID-related market losses and are now facing historically high feedstock costs. Many plants remain offline or are operating at reduced output rates. We look forward to receiving additional details on the program from USDA and we are eager to work with the department to ensure smooth and successful implementation.”
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