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USDA Spending Billions For Farmers Missed In Previous Coronavirus Aid Programs

Gaspar Uhas / Unsplash

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending $6 billion on new programs to help farmers, ranchers and producers who were left out of previous pandemic aid.Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary of Agriculture, said in a statement that there were gaps in the past two iterations of the Coronavirus Assistance Program. The creation of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers program is an effort to mend those gaps.

“The pandemic affected all of agriculture, but many farmers did not benefit from previous rounds of pandemic-related assistance. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to helping as many producers as possible, as equitably as possible,” Vilsack said in a statement.

The new program will start this spring, once rules are created for qualification. It will include assistance for producers like dairy farmers, urban farms and timber harvesters. There will also be programs to help with food waste and for poultry and meat facilities.

The USDA is also adding $500 million to existing programs. The CFAP-2 is being extended for 60 days starting April 5, and the Farm Service Agency is spending $2.5 million to establish partnerships with grassroot organizations to help socially disadvantaged communities with the application process.

Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, FSA will make payments to producers according to a mandated formula.

Ranchers will get an increased payment from CFAP-1 and will receive it automatically at the beginning of April. This will result in $1.1 billion in payments and affect 410,000 producers.

Farmers who grow crops like alfalfa, corn, cotton, hemp and peanuts will get $20 per acre as part of the program. The USDA estimates the additional payments will come out to $4.5 billion to 560,000 producers.

Farmers and ranchers can find more information at farmers.gov.


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Seth Bodine was KOSU's agriculture and rural issues reporter from June 2020 to February 2022.
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