Additional support for agricultural producers and businesses will be made available through the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be implementing the additional assistance within 60 days. USDA had previously identified areas of need that have not been adequately supported under previous COVID-related assistance efforts. The initiative includes support for dairy farmers and processors, livestock farmers and contract growers of poultry, as well as for organic cost-share.
“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,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. “These investments through USDA Pandemic Assistance will help our food, agriculture and forestry sectors get back on track and plan for the future. Since January, USDA has provided more than $11 billion of assistance directly to producers and food and agriculture business.”
Dairy farmers and processors will be receiving additional support as part of the recent announcement from USDA. An additional $400 million is being made available for the new Dairy Donation Program. Approximately $580 million will go to small and medium farms in the form of Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage. Dairy farmers struggling with losses related to the pandemic that had been left out of previous aid programs will also receive additional payments.
Contract growers of poultry and livestock producers that did not receive assistance through other COVID relief efforts are to be supported under the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Producers that were forced to euthanize animals between March 1, through December 26, 2020, will be eligible for assistance. An additional $20 million is also earmarked to provide organic cost-share assistance, which will include farmers transitioning to organic production. The initiative also includes funding for Pandemic Response and Safety Grants for PPE. A total of $700 million will be made available to assist specialty crop growers, meat packers and processors, and others to address PPE needs.