Glitches in aid program obscure need for more relief during pandemic, say ag leaders

Farm groups are arguing for a massive new round of cash for agriculture in the coronavirus relief bill being negotiated by Congress and the White House, even though billions of dollars in an ongoing USDA aid program may go unclaimed. There's no contradiction in the request, said the two largest U.S. farm groups on Monday. (No paywall)

Million-dollar payments from USDA’s coronavirus fund

A hog producer, Titan Swine, got the largest single payment during the first month of the USDA's coronavirus relief program — $1.4 million — and it received two additional checks, totaling $1.1 million, on the same day, reported The Counter on Thursday. (No paywall)

White House cites USDA ‘poison pills’ in threat to veto $260 billion spending bill

The White House listed five dozen objections to parts of a $260 billion government funding bill, including bans on implementing two Trump regulations to narrow SNAP eligibility, on Thursday, and threatened a presidential veto. As the House debated the appropriations bill, Republican senators worked on coronavirus relief legislation expected to include billions of dollars of new agricultural assistance.

Farm, anti-hunger groups try to squeeze into $1-trillion pandemic bill

"Everything's on the table" as Congress sets to work on a new coronavirus relief bill, and most of it will end up in the wastebasket, said Senate Finance chairman Chuck Grassley. Farm groups are pressing for billions of dollars in aid to offset low commodity prices and anti-hunger activists say a temporary increase in SNAP benefits would reduce hunger and stimulate the economy.(No paywall)

Federal payments soften farm financial stress

Agricultural credit conditions remain weak, but government payments "appear likely to limit the severity of financial stress among farm borrowers in the coming months," said the Federal Reserve in a quarterly report on Thursday. (No paywall)

Farm groups ask for billions more in coronavirus aid

Although the USDA has distributed only 9 percent of the $16 billion in coronavirus aid earmarked for agriculture, three farm and ranch groups asked lawmakers for more on Wednesday. The American Farm Bureau Federation sent a five-page wish list to Congress that included a $38 billion increase in USDA spending power and a guarantee that undocumented farmworkers will not be targeted by immigration agents during the pandemic. (No paywall)

Five states get one-third of initial coronavirus payments

Farmers and ranchers have received $545 million in the first batch of coronavirus relief payments, said the USDA on Thursday. One-third of that money went to producers in five states: Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas. (No paywall)

Coronavirus aid slanted against local food, says small-farm group

The Trump administration's $16 billion coronavirus aid package for agriculture "fails to deliver for many farmers who are the backbone of local, resilient, sustainable food systems," said the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition on Wednesday. The group said small producers would be trampled by large operators in the first-come, first-served race for payments that can go as high as $750,000. (No paywall)

One year of coronavirus relief could match two years of trade war aid

The government could spend $25 billion, or more, to help the farm sector survive the coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic slowdown, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Thursday. If that happens, the administration will have spent more than $50 billion in three years to mitigate the impact of catastrophic disease and trade war on U.S. agriculture. (No paywall)