Ag programs to benefit from COVID-19 stimulus package
Congress and the White House reached an agreement in the early hours of March 25 on a wide-ranging stimulus bill totaling $2 trillion, including additional funding for USDA programs, according to published reports. Congress must still vote on the package.
Per published reports, the package would provide Americans whose annual income is $75,000 or less may receive direct payments of up to $1,200 from the federal government. As part of the legislation, the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) would get a $14 billion boost and the bill would provide $9.5 billion for producers of livestock, specialty crops and dairy, as well as producers who support local food systems like farmers markets, schools and restaurants, Agri-Pulse reported.
The CCC account was the USDA’s vehicle for providing trade relief to farmers under the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which was intended to offset economic harm experienced by U.S. farmers as a result of the ongoing trade conflict with China.
Agricultural stakeholders and some members of Congress have pushed for additional MFP payments, including House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Michael Conaway (R-Texas). The additional funding may allow the CCC to move forward with another round of MFP payments.