USDA Announces Additional Pandemic Aid for Farm Producers and Businesses


The US Department of Agriculture has announced the “Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative”, which will provide more financial assistance to agricultural producers and businesses.

USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack said earlier this year that the ministry is planning another round of financial aid to fill gaps in previous rounds of the coronavirus food aid program and other programs. Newly available funds will be focused on the logging, biofuels, dairy and livestock industries.

“The USDA is honoring its commitment to securing financial assistance to critical producers and agricultural businesses, especially those left behind or underserved by previous COVID assistance,” Vilsack said in a press 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, the USDA has provided more than $ 11 billion in aid directly to producers and agribusinesses. “

A commitment of $ 6 billion in March is used for this program, which will include:

  • $ 980 million for dairy farmers, divided into two programs: the Dairy Donation Program ($ 400 million) and the Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage program for small and medium farms
  • $ 200 million for family logging businesses
  • $ 700 million for biofuel producers
  • $ 700 million for pandemic response and security grants for industries hard hit by lack of personal protective equipment, such as meat processing
  • $ 20 million for organic cost-sharing assistance, including assistance to people switching to organic production
  • Additional aid for poultry producers who were not included in the previous aid

The announcement ties in with the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” campaign, which focuses on recovering from COVID-19 and long-term investments in the health and longevity of the country’s food system. Vilsack said he hopes the major investments will help make the food supply chain more resilient and fairer for Americans after numerous disruptions during the pandemic.

Madison-based FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative applauded the investment in a press release, saying they looked forward to working with the USDA to find the best and most efficient ways to invest in the supply chain. of Wisconsin.

“USDA has stated its desire to deliver greater value directly to farmers, producers and workers, and FarmFirst looks forward to seeing this happen,” said John Rettler, dairy farmer and president of FarmFirst. “By building these long-term solutions and farmer resources, the USDA is creating a foundation that will prepare American agriculture to be ready to meet the demands of a recovering economy. FarmFirst looks forward to building this success for the future. “

The National Farmers Union also praised the USDA and noted that while things are returning to normal, many food producers across the country are still grappling with the consequences of the pandemic disruptions.

“Throughout this crisis, we have appreciated USDA’s efforts to provide family farmers with the help they need to stay solvent despite market and supply chain disruptions,” said Rob Larew. , president of NFU. “The additional support announced today, along with news from last week regarding the Build Back Better plan, will help offset remaining losses and begin to lay the foundation for a more secure, competitive and resilient food system.”

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