Agricultural groups and farm state lawmakers are pleased that the new COVID relief package passed by Congress last night includes help for producers excluded from previous aid legislation.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) says relief includes the Paycheck Protection Program for Producers Act. “The bill also includes funding to allow the Department of Agriculture to provide additional assistance to ag producers who were dealing with a tough economy before the pandemic hit,” said Thune.
Many farmers and ranchers who were previously left out will now qualify for assistance, including livestock and poultry producers who were forced to euthanize animals during the initial wave of the pandemic. They will receive 80% reimbursement for losses due to premature euthanization or canceled orders. Nearly $1 billion will support a dairy donation program and supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage payments for small and medium-sized producers. More help will be made available to specialty and non-specialty crop growers, and biofuels producers are now explicitly eligible for USDA assistance, at the discretion of the secretary. The bill also includes aid for the cotton industry in the form of payments to domestic users of upland cotton and extra-long staple cotton.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is pleased the deal includes additional Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) support for cattle producers, expanded resources for state-inspected meat processors through inclusion of the Requiring Assistance to Meat Processors for Upgrading Plants (RAMP UP) Act, certainty that cattle producers can recoup payment losses by establishing a dealer trust, funding for agriculture quarantine inspection services and an extension of Livestock Mandatory Reporting (LMR).