WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has begun issuing approximately $270 million in payments to contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry who applied for Pandemic Assistance. Earlier this year, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) identified gaps in assistance including in the initial proposal to assist contract growers. In August, USDA released the improved program for contract producers to fill these gaps, providing support as part of USDA’s broader Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.
“We listened to feedback from producers and stakeholders about impacts across livestock and poultry operations and made updates to be more equitable in the assistance we delivered,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “For contract producers this meant expanding eligibility and providing flexibility such as considering 2018 or 2019 revenue when calculating payments and accounting for contract producers who increased the size of their operation in 2020 or were new to farming when the pandemic hit. Filling these gaps and not letting underserved producers slip through the cracks is a common theme throughout our approach under our Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.”
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, provided funding for payments to contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry for revenue losses from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 27, 2020. Contract producers of broilers, pullets, chicken eggs, turkeys, hogs and pigs, ducks, geese, pheasants and quail were eligible for assistance, along with eligible breeding stock and eggs of all eligible poultry types produced under contract. Signup ran from Aug. 24, 2021, through Oct. 12, 2021.
In total, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2), of which assistance for contract producers is part, provided more than $18.8 billion to producers whose operations were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. CFAP 2 had a fourfold increase in participation by historically underserved producers since the program reopened in April 2021. This highlights USDA’s commitment to increase outreach, education and technical assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers, including by investing $4.7 million to assist in targeted outreach for FSA programs.
As USDA looks for long-term solutions to build back a better food system, the Department is committed to delivery of financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers and businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19 market disruptions. In addition to the funding USDA is issuing today, the Department has provided a broad range of support to America’s farmers and ranchers as part of its Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, including:
- More than $18.8 billion in Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 payments, including a fourfold increase in participation by historically underserved producers since the program reopened in April 2021.
- Over $42 million in assistance for those who had to depopulate livestock and poultry due to insufficient processing access (Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program).
- Over $9 million to date for the logging and log hauling industry (Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers). Final payments are being calculated to be disbursed soon.
- $1 billion to purchase healthy food for food insecure Americans and build food bank capacity.
- $350 million in additional dairy assistance related to market volatility.
- $500 million deployed through existing USDA programs.
A full list of Pandemic Assistance is available at www.farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance. USDA expects further Pandemic Assistance to continue to fill remaining gaps later this year.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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