USDA Issues $14 Billion in COVID Relief to Farmers

The Trump administration will send $14 billion in aid to U.S. farmers and ranchers struggling with falling prices, lost markets and other supply chain disruptions tied to the global pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Sept. 18.

This is the second round of assistance President Donald Trump will send to U.S. farmers. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the first $19 billion in April as the coronavirus roiled the nation’s food supply chain.

U.S. producers dumped milk, smashed eggs and buried lettuce and other produce after the coronavirus outbreak closed schools, restaurants, hotels, and other venues.

Dozens of meatpacking plants in Iowa and the U.S. slowed or closed temporarily as workers became ill and cases escalated.

The slowdown pushed pork producers to destroy thousands of pigs, including an estimated 200,000 in Iowa.

The round of assistance announced this month will support a wide range of growers, including corn, soybean and other row crops; beef, pork and lamb; specialty produce such as endive and avocados; and nursery and cut flower producers.

The USDA said the payments would be provided based on price triggers, flat rates or sales. For example, major crops such as corn and soybeans that have seen at least a 5 percent price decline would receive a minimum of $15 for every acre planted this year.

Cattle, hog and pig payments will be based on the maximum owned inventory of livestock on a date selected by the producer between April 16 and Aug. 31.

Payments are capped at $250,000 per farmer or ag entity, a limit that several groups and lawmakers have complained can be easily skirted, resulting in payments that exceed $1 million.

Source: Des Moines Register