Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Roger Marshall (1st District of Kansas)
WASHINGTON – Today, Congress will vote on a $900 billion COVID relief package that includes $13 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to use to support segments of the agriculture industry that continue to see impacts of COVID-19. The legislation also includes additional programs to help continue to strengthen and reform the agriculture industry.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our hard-working farmers and ranchers have not missed a single day of work,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “While conditions have improved for some, many producers continue to struggle to respond to changes in markets as a result of continued worldwide COVID impacts. This legislation builds upon the programs created to support farmers in the CARES Act and provides funding for continued structural improvements to our livestock industry. I applaud the USDA for their response to concerns with inequities in livestock payments and continued prioritization of the safety of our food processing workers.”
The following provisions are included in the COVID relief package:
- Provides a $20 per planted acre payment for all non-specialty crops
- Supplemental payment to livestock producers as partial compensation for disparities between CFAP 1 and CFAP 2
- Support for domestic biofuel producers
- Flexibility for USDA to support specialty crop farmers
- Grants and loans for food processors and distributers for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Supplemental coverage for dairy operations with less than 5 million pounds of annual production who are producing more milk than what is covered under the Dairy Margin Coverage program authorized in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
- Establishes a program to make facility upgrade and planning grants to meat and poultry processors to help them move to federal inspection or state inspection programs allowing products to sell across state lines
Producers and agri-business owners will benefit from the reopening and refunding of the Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL programs and will now have the ability to deduct business-related expenses covered by funds from a PPP loan. An additional $7 billion in broadband funding will further help expand rural broadband networks and ensure the continuation of telehealth services.