coronavirus relief

‘Spot market’ hog payments may be pro-rated

Hog farmers will have an additional two weeks, until April 29, to apply for federal payments to offset the pandemic-depressed prices offered by packers on the cash market during the summer of 2020, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday.

Farm income is forecast far above average for second year

Record-high expenses and sharply lower federal subsidies will erode farm income in 2022, according to a forecast by the Agriculture Department. Nonetheless, U.S. agriculture would see one of its best years on record, with net farm income 26 percent above its 10-year average.

Vilsack says USDA and White House close to deal on biofuel aid

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the administration appeared "very close" to releasing a long-promised $700 million in pandemic aid to biofuel producers. The aid was announced in March as part of a remodeling of coronavirus relief programs by the incoming administration.

Highest farm income in eight years, but one-third comes from government

Higher prices for corn, soybeans, hogs, cattle, and broiler chickens — top U.S. ag products — will boost net farm income to $113 billion this year, the highest since 2013, estimated the Agriculture Department on Thursday. Income would be 26 percent higher than the 10-year average, reflecting the economy-wide recovery from the pandemic.

USDA offers $1 billion in pandemic aid to contract growers

Nearly seven months after it froze a Trump-era plan, the Biden administration said on Tuesday that up to $1 billion was available to contract growers of pigs and poultry to offset revenue lost to the pandemic in 2020. With the announcement, the USDA has committed more than $8 billion in pandemic aid to farmers and ranchers since March. The total would grow with the expected announcement on Wednesday of a $400 million program to donate dairy products to food banks. The dairy donation program, like the aid to contract growers, was on a USDA list of coronavirus assistance to be implemented this summer.

Vilsack calls out farmers suing to block debt relief for minority farmers

Lawsuits to block $4 billion in loan forgiveness for minority farmers show a lack of historical awareness, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the BIO online convention on Wednesday. "It's a wonder where those farmers were over the last 100 years, when their Black counterparts were being discriminated against and didn't hear a peep from white farmers about how unfortunate that circumstance was."

Senators prod USDA for pandemic payments to contract growers

Ten weeks ago, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack restarted the USDA’s coronavirus relief program for farmers and ranchers. But payments to contract growers, the farmers who produce hogs, poultry and eggs under contract for the owner of the animals, remain on hold and lawmakers from poultry …

USDA spending nearly doubles during pandemic

The Agriculture Department will spend nearly $289 billion this fiscal year, almost double its pre-pandemic level of outlays, according to USDA budget data. The increase is due chiefly to coronavirus relief payments to farmers and increases in public nutrition programs such as the Supplemental …

Looking beneath the surface, USDA paper gauges pandemic’s impact

Global trade in food and agricultural products grew by 3.5 percent last year, according to the WTO, leading to descriptions that the sector was robust and resilient in the face of the worst pandemic in a century. However, a USDA working paper says the impact of the coronavirus was obscured by such factors as the de-escalation of the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Food insecurity drops to lowest level of the pandemic

Hunger in the United States has dropped to its lowest level of the yearlong pandemic, according to Census Bureau data released on Wednesday. Analysts credited government stimulus checks, increased federal food assistance, and the economic recovery for the sharp improvement.

Third round of pandemic payments begins to flow to farmers and ranchers

The Biden administration has begun sending pandemic payments of more than $5.6 billion to cattle and crop producers, opening the third round of coronavirus relief to farmers and ranchers in 10 months, said a USDA spokesman on Monday. The USDA, trying to reach minority farmers and others left …

Food box should be a model for USDA, not scrapped, say GOP lawmakers

The USDA ought to keep President Trump's glitzy food box giveaway program in operation rather than let it die at the end of April, said Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday. A food bank leader said that while the food box had been helpful in responding to pandemic-caused hunger, it was not as useful as programs like SNAP.

Biden to sign bill with $4 billion in debt relief for minority farmers

With Republicans complaining of discrimination against white farmers, the House passed a coronavirus bill on Wednesday that would provide an estimated $4 billion in debt relief for socially disadvantaged farmers.

Coronavirus bill offers aid as food insecurity eases

Although in the latest Pulse survey from the Census Bureau, fewer people said they didn't have enough food to eat in the past week, hardship rates remain very high, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Wednesday.

‘One step closer,’ says Biden as aid bill moves to Senate

A three-month extension of higher SNAP benefits and $4 billion in debt relief for minority farmers are in the hands of the Senate following a 219-212 vote by the House over the weekend. "We are one step closer," said President Biden, who used the phrase to describe elements of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, from funds for coronavirus vaccinations and unemployment benefits to "helping millions of Americans feed their families."

Debt relief for minority farmers needs more thought, say critics

The House Budget Committee approved an estimated $4 billion of debt relief for minority farmers on Monday as part of a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package on Monday, with one member protesting that the aid was unfair. The CBO said due to incomplete data, the cost of paying off USDA loans …

Multibillion-dollar debt relief for minority farmers is backed by House committee

The House Agriculture Committee approved a landmark $4 billion program of debt relief for socially disadvantaged farmers on Wednesday despite Republican objections that the aid was an unconstitutional form of reverse discrimination. Chairman David Scott, a Georgia Democrat, said minority farmers deserved the help because they had been overlooked in the mammoth trade war and coronavirus relief programs that began in 2018.

FRAC says free school breakfast is crucial to addressing hunger, academic performance

Nearly a year into the pandemic, school closures have taken a harsh toll on American kids. Virtual classes have left many behind academically, and losing access to school meals has increased child hunger across the country, as replacement programs have failed to meet rising need. As children return to the classroom, school breakfasts will be critical in both curbing hunger and improving academic outcomes, according to the Food Research & Action Center’s (FRAC) annual Breakfast Scorecard, which was released today.

Biden regulatory freeze halts USDA pandemic payments

As part of a government-wide regulatory freeze, the Biden administration has suspended payments while it reviews the $3 billion in pandemic aid to agricultural producers that was announced in the final week of the Trump administration, said the USDA on Thursday.

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