Farmers to Receive Cash Payments, Mass Purchases

The White House on Friday announced a $19 billion economic rescue package for farmers and ranchers. The plan calls for making cash payments to producers as well as mass purchases of dairy, meat and produce to be redistributed to food banks.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the direct aid to farmers will total $16 billion. The remaining $3 billion will cover surplus food purchases.

The $16 billion distribution breakdown includes:

• $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
• $500 million for other crops

The National Pork Producers Council said hog producers’ slice of the aid package will “fall short.”

“While the direct payments to hog farmers will offset some losses for some farmers, they are not sufficient to sustain the varied market participants, including those who own hogs as well as thousands of contract growers who care for pigs,” NPPC President Howard A.V. Roth said.

USDA will begin taking applications in May and providing payments in June.

The administration is financing the payments through a combination of the new spending authority from Congress included in the stimulus package and existing funds. Trump said an additional $14 billion in aid would be available in July by replenishing the Commodities Credit Corporation and distributing the funds through the CARES Act.

An April 14 economic analysis by the University of Missouri projected an $11.85 billion loss in revenue for the crops sector this year and an additional $20.24 billion reduction in receipts for all livestock sectors combined.

Sources: USDA, Farm Progress