Laura Reiley reported on the front page of today's Washington Post that, "A little-known element of President Biden’s massive stimulus relief package would pay billions of dollars to disadvantaged farmers…
Bloomberg’s Mike Dorning reported on Wednesday that, “The Biden administration announced $12 billion in new farm aid, and said it will seek to expand Covid assistance to producers that weren’t covered under the Trump administration’s pandemic relief programs.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Wednesday it would devote $6 billion to expand Covid support to additional recipients, including renewable fuel producers, specialty crop and organic farmers, timber harvesters, and support for the food chain.”
The Bloomberg article explained that,
The new round also includes $1.1 billion in aid for cattle producers and an additional $4.5 billion for new $20-an-acre payments to producers of major crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton.
“The funding was provided by Congress in Covid relief measures passed last year. The current administration paused payments to review the programs when Biden took office.”
.@USDA announced today that the $13 billion we secured for ag producers as part of COVID relief in late December will be going out to help farmers & ranchers as they weather unfair retaliatory trade practices, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. https://t.co/bMfn7nvBH5— Senator John Hoeven (@SenJohnHoeven) March 24, 2021
DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported on Wednesday that, “The release of the CFAP aid comes after the Biden administration had put a hold on USDA programs following the inauguration for a 60-day review. Some aid programs, such as the $20 per-acre payments to crop farmers, were also part of the December aid package, but the Trump administration did not initiate a payment program for those funds before leaving office.
“USDA also will reopen enrollment for CFAP-2 starting April 5 and accept new applications for at least the next 60 days. In a greater effort to reach socially disadvantaged farmers, USDA has set aside at least $2.5 million to connect with grassroots organizations and expand outreach to enroll more minority and women farmers into the coronavirus aid programs as well.”
Our new USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative will help get financial assistance to a broader set of producers, including to socially disadvantaged communities, small & medium sized producers, and farmers & producers of less traditional crops. https://t.co/HEOWa2BGk1— Secretary Tom Vilsack (@SecVilsack) March 24, 2021
Mr. Clayton pointed out that, “There is an additional $500 million in new funding set up to boost existing programs.”
I am thrilled that @SecVilsack and @USDA have done diligent review of these programs and are now resuming these critical payments to honor our commitment to Minnesota farmers. For more information, visit https://t.co/6qSJBU3YEz. https://t.co/maJo1W6rR7— Angie Craig (@RepAngieCraig) March 24, 2021
I'm glad to see assistance for biofuel producers will be included as the @USDA begins to reopen critical aid programs for producers hurt by the pandemic.— Rep. Randy Feenstra (@RepFeenstra) March 24, 2021
I look forward to working with @SecVilsack to ensure adequate funding for all crop growers and livestock producers. #IA04 https://t.co/Jcu6sRQ2J1
The ag industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and many producers are still recovering from the impacts to our food processors, supply chains, and commodity markets. Good to see USDA deliver on Congress’s promise to farmers and ranchers and deliver the final round of CFAP. https://t.co/AS4T2WIpZU— Dr. Roger Marshall (@RogerMarshallMD) March 24, 2021
I am thrilled to see that the federal government is going to remain a supportive partner for farmers and producers during this difficult time. This is especially important for farmers who haven't yet been able to access assistance. https://t.co/4qcu4ptqgh— Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D. (@RepKimSchrier) March 24, 2021
Also Wednesday, Reuters writer Tom Polansek reported that, “USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the agency needs to expand financial assistance to more farmers because a review of COVID-19 programs under former President Donald Trump found disparities in the distribution of aid. He said there also was inadequate outreach to disadvantaged producers and smaller operators.”
The Reuters article noted that, “Since the Trump administration announced COVID-19 aid for farmers in April 2020, the USDA has sent more than $23.79 billion dollars to farmers and ranchers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The agency has spent more than $4 billion purchasing food for distribution to food banks and pantries across the country.”
The infusion of ad hoc federal farm payments, along with an increase in corn and soybean prices, have contributed to an improving agricultural economy and farm credit conditions.