Since COVID-19 disrupted the meat supply chain in the spring, there has been a growing consensus between Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill that the meat processing industry needs more competition, but that comes with a few barriers.
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.