The coronavirus pandemic was top of mind for nearly every aspect of the global economy in 2020, and farm policy stakeholders were keeping a close eye on Agri-Pulse’s coverage of the virus and legislative efforts to lessen its blow throughout the year.
Farm bankruptcies have increased 8% over the last 12 months, but filings have slowed over the last 6 months as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the U.S. economy, a new American Farm Bureau Federation Market Intel report says.
A $1 trillion coronavirus relief package that Senate Republicans are trying to finalize would authorize compensation to livestock and poultry producers and also aid ethanol plants as well as additional direct payments to farmers, a key senator said Thursday.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the next big coronavirus relief bill, assuming there is one, would likely provide more funding for payments to farmers. But McConnell is clearly reluctant to include new spending for rural broadband or other infrastructure.
It looks like farm groups will largely stay on the sidelines as the House moves toward a vote on Democrats’ giant coronavirus relief bill, even though it would authorize $16.5 billion more in direct farm payments plus other aid to producers.
House Democrats released a massive new coronavirus relief bill that would provide $16.5 billion in additional direct payments to farmers and authorize USDA to compensate producers who have to dispose of livestock and poultry that can’t be sold because of processing disruptions.
The full Senate returns to Washington for the first time since March, setting the stage for a partisan battle over the next big coronavirus aid bill and a growing list of requests from agriculture and other sectors for relief.
A backed-up food supply chain and a bottlenecked legislative process await senators as they return to Washington next week, and the desires for the next round of coronavirus assistance are already piling up.