Congress recently approved the latest stimulus package to help relieve some of the pressures created by COVID-19. The $900 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 includes up to $13 billion in support for the agriculture sector. Another $13 billion will be used to support nutrition programs and $7 billion will go towards broadband infrastructure. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be expanded, and more support will be provided for specialty and non-specialty crop growers.
“We’re pleased that Congress understands the toll the pandemic continues to take on farmers, ranchers and rural Americans,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a news release. “Farmers who were left out of previous aid packages or whose losses were far more devastating than recognized in initial aid are grateful that their families will be helped, too. We recognize the need is great across our entire economy and farm families will join the rest of America in our determination to recover from the hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The latest stimulus package allows PPP funds to be used for COVID mitigation expenses. Livestock producers will also be eligible to receive 80 percent of their losses incurred due to canceled or delayed orders. The latest round of aid also provides $20 per planted acre for both specialty and non-specialty crop growers. Expenses that are paid through the PPP can also be used as a tax deduction.
“The fact that a stimulus package has, at long last, been passed is certainly a relief, and it will ease the burden that so many of our friends and neighbors have been bearing on their own,” said National Farmers Union President Rob Larew. “It is similarly heartening to see the inclusion of provisions that will revitalize rural economies, such as financial support for the biofuels industry, further assistance for farmers impacted by market disruptions, and more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program.”