Farm groups are appealing to the Agriculture Department to relax payment rules and extend the signup deadline for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, citing the lagging pace of payments to farmers.
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.
As Congress considers a new wave of aid to combat the financial pressures of the coronavirus, the trade group representing the nation’s pork producers says it’s critical the new package include aid sufficient enough to keep struggling producers in business.
Farm earnings are likely to fall sharply this year despite the $16 billion in COVID-19 assistance payments now being distributed, and farmers’ income is likely to drop again in 2021 without additional government aid, according to a widely followed forecast of the agricultural economy.
Cattle, dairy and hog producers as well as corn and soybean growers are expected to collect the largest shares of USDA’s $16 billion in coronavirus relief payments, which are designed to compensate for losses in sales or market value between January and April.
Farmers can start enrolling next week for $16 billion in coronavirus relief payments, but the Agriculture Department has decided to prorate the aid to ensure there is enough money to go around, Agri-Pulse has learned.
Farm groups are awaiting the release any day of USDA’s requirements for $16 billion in direct payments to compensate producers for the market losses caused by the coronavirus crisis. OMB completed its review of the planned program on Friday.