More Targeted COVID-19 Relief Sought by Agricultural Industry

Brian German Agri-Business, Funding

COVID-19 Relief

Multiple agricultural groups have sent letters to lawmakers seeking additional COVID-19 relief as the industry continues to struggle with the challenges created by the tumultuous condition of the food supply chain.  The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) detailed the need for additional aid payments to address financial damages, as well as federal assistance for rural broadband development and rural health care.

“The American Farm Bureau Federation commends your ongoing work to assist Americans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bipartisan efforts in Congress have delivered critical resources and support to individuals and American businesses impacted by the ongoing economic crisis,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall wrote in a letter. “As the Senate works to develop a new round of bipartisan COVID-19 relief, Farm Bureau has identified ongoing economic pressures across the supply chain, including funding requirements, numerous technical corrections and other issues not addressed in the CARES Act.”

AFBF asked that additional COVID-19 relief legislation includes replenishment of Commodity Credit Corporation funding and an extension of relief funding for any losses that occurred after April 15. The organization is also seeking a provision of housing funding for H-2A workers that will allow for social distancing, as well as a provision for funding support to offset some of the additional costs of personal protective equipment and sanitation supplies.

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) also sent its own letter to lawmakers, highlighting the struggles of U.S. cattle producers.  The group recommends extending the timeframe for payment eligibility and making adjustments to the current payment limits of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). USCA also asks for CFAP to cover actual losses in lieu of covering only 25 percent of the drop in cattle inventory.

“USCA’s full economic impact report of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. cattle industry showed approximately $14.6 billion in losses. The cattle payouts that USDA recently announced will amount to approximately $5.5 billion, falling far short of the estimated losses,” USCA President Brooke Miller said in the letter. “USCA stands ready to work with you to make needed improvements to the coronavirus aid package so that it works to restore economic viability to the U.S. cattle industry.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West