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Trump announces $19 billion in farm aid

Trump announces $19 billion in farm aid
Posted at 7:25 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 13:40:37-04

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Friday the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will provide $19 billion to provide relief for farmers, ranchers, and consumers.

“This new $19 billion program will take several immediate actions to assists farmers, ranchers and concerns in response to the COVID-19 national emergency,” Perdue said during a White House COVID-19 press conference.

North Dakota U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, released a detailed draft of the plan.

It includes $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program secured in the CARES Act and $6.5 billion in Credit Commodity Corporation (CCC) funding.

Also, $3 billion is included for purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. USDA will work with local food and regional distributors to deliver food to food banks, as well as community and faith-based organizations to provide food to those in need.

USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including:

  • $9.6 billion for the livestock industry
  • $5.1 billion for cattle
  • $2.9 billion for dairy
  • $1.6 billion for hogs
  • $3.9 billion for row crop producers
  • $2.1 billion for specialty crops producers
  • $500 million is allocated for “others crops” which includes additional livestock funding for lamb, wool and goat producers.

Producers will receive a single payment determined using two calculations:

  • Price losses that occurred from Jan. 1 through April 15, 2020. Producers will be compensated for 85% of price loss during that period.
  • Second part of the payment will be expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters and will cover 30% of expected losses.

The payment limit is $125,000 per commodity with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. Qualified commodities must have experienced a 5% price decrease between January and April.

USDA is expediting the rule making process for the direct payment program and expects to begin sign-up for the new program in early May and to get payments out to producers by the end of May or early June.

USDA is expediting the rule making process for the direct payment program and expects to begin sign-up for the new program in early May and to get payments out to producers by the end of May or early June.

Sources say, just like other COVID funding, it will be a first-come, first-served basis.

Agriculture advocates applauded the announcement.

“We’re grateful to President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for working together to come to the aid of America’s farmers and ranchers,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall. The coronavirus pandemic forced the closing of restaurants, schools and college cafeterias, causing commodity prices to fall off a cliff and serious disruptions to food supply chains. This $16 billion in aid will help keep food on Americans’ tables by providing a lifeline to farm families that were already hit by trade wars and severe weather.”

Added Marty Smith, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, “We appreciate Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s announcement that the agency will soon distribute funding to the cattlemen and cattlewomen who desperately need help during this national emergency. We applaud USDA’s work to quickly craft a plan to distribute the funds to those who need it most and we look forward to learning more about that plan very soon. America’s cattle producers are facing unprecedented crisis after two market-disruptions in less than a year and this funding will provide the certainty needed to move forward with their work.”

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