Additional Aid to USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced supplementary assistance for farmers, ranchers, and agricultural businesses as part of the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative. The funding is not new money and is part of discretionary funding dedicated to USDA from the 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Since January 2021, the USDA has allocated over $11 billion to producers, food, and agricultural businesses. Within 60 days, the recently announced aid will support timber harvesters, biofuels, dairy farmers and processors, livestock farmers and contract growers of poultry, assistance for organic cost-share, and grants for personal protective equipment (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 Secretary Vilsack. “These investments through USDA Pandemic Assistance will help our food, agriculture and forestry sectors get back on track and plan for the future.”
The allocations for this round of aid are as follows:
- $200 million: Small, family-owned timber harvesting and hauling businesses
- $700 million: Biofuel producers
- Support for dairy farmers and processors:
- $400 million: The new Dairy Donation Program to address food insecurity and mitigate food waste and loss
- Additional pandemic payments targeted to dairy farmers who have demonstrated losses that have not been covered by previous pandemic assistance
- Assistance for poultry and livestock producers left out of previous rounds of pandemic assistance:
- $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
- $20 million: Additional organic cost-share assistance, including for producers who are transitioning to organic farming
The additional assistance is greatly appreciated by farmers and businesses alike. “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,” said National Farmers Union (NFU) President Rob Larew. For more information on the Build Back Better plan, check out the Taking Stock DC article USDA Announced Investment of Billions for Food Security.