October 27, 2022

USDA to give over half billion in pandemic relief to food workers

USDA to give over half billion in pandemic relief to food workers

By: Sydney Sheffield

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced fifteen organizations that have been selected to receive funding from the Farm and Farm Workers Relief Grant Program (FFWR). USDA has set aside over $670 million in grants for the program. Each of the fifteen organizations will receive a one-time payment of $600. USDA anticipates that beneficiaries will be able to apply for funds from some of these recipients as soon as late November.

The program, which is administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), will use the funding to provide relief to farmworkers and meatpacking workers who suffered pandemic-related health and safety costs. Funding is also set aside for three pilot programs to support grocery workers in recognition of their essential role in the pandemic response.

“USDA is committed not only to acknowledging the work of our nation’s essential agricultural and food workers, but also ensuring they are not left out of opportunities for relief from the effects of the pandemic,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The grant recipients being announced today will help us provide relief payments to workers across the country who kept food moving to our families during an especially challenging time.”

The relief provided through this program is intended to cover costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family, or living expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), dependent care, and expenses associated with quarantines and testing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A few of the awardees are:

  • Cherokee Nation Farm, Meatpacking $45,948,000
  • Hispanic Federation, Inc. Farm, Meatpacking $44,299,586
  • National Center for Farmworker Health Farm $36,000,000
  • Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Farm, Meatpacking $34,637,242

See the full list here.

“The COVID-19 pandemic left our most essential workers to fend for themselves with no federal aid, low pay, dangerous working conditions, and little to no economic safety nets,” said the United Farm Workers (UFW) Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. And yet, farm workers continued risking their lives for all of us to have food on our tables. Pandemic relief payments will make a significant impact on the day-to-day lives of farm workers affected by the pandemic. We have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure this much-needed pandemic relief reaches the hands of farm workers across the nation.”