March 24, 2021

USDA will distribute $12 billion in COVID relief

Following up on his promise to reevaluate the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program and identify gaps in funding, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that USDA plans to distribute additional financial assistance to those who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions. USDA says the new initiative—USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers—will reach a broader set of producers than in previous COVID-19 aid programs. USDA is dedicating at least $6 billion toward the new programs, and also plans to begin the distribution of $4.5 billion for crop producers and $1.1 billion for cattle producers.

The Department will also develop rules for new programs that will put a greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers, specialty crop and organic producers, timber harvesters, as well as provide support for the food supply chain and producers of renewable fuel, among others.

Existing programs such as CFAP will fall within the new initiative and where statutory authority allows, will be refined to better address the needs of producers, the agency says. USDA will reopen sign-up for CFAP 2 for at least 60 days beginning on April 5, 2021. Upon President Joe Biden entering office, CFAP was part of a regulatory freeze and halted payments going out to farmers.


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