The Democratic-controlled House passed a $2.2-trillion-coronavirus-relief bill without the support of House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson and four other Democrats serving on the Agriculture Committee. They were among 18 Democrats who voted against the bill, which passed, 218-207; no Republicans voted for it.
Livestock producers in Iowa will be eligible for grants of up to $10,000 and biofuel producers for grants of up to $750,000 to offset the impact of the pandemic on agriculture in the state, announced Gov. Kim Reynolds on Tuesday, the same day she was expected to speak at the Republican National Convention.
In its largest payout since the program began, the USDA sent $2 billion in coronavirus aid to farmers and ranchers last week, most of it going to producers who had received a prorated payment earlier this summer.
With 18 days left for to apply for coronavirus aid, farmers and ranchers have received $7 billion of the $16 billion earmarked for assistance, an increase of $218 million from the previous week, said the USDA on Monday. (No paywall)
U.S. meatpackers ran at roughly three-fourths capacity during April as outbreaks of the coronavirus forced some of the country's largest meat plants to close temporarily, said the USDA on Thursday. Production is rebounding in May, but the risk of a resurgence of the virus hangs over the industry, said analysts. (No paywall)
Farmers and ranchers will begin signing up for $16 billion in coronavirus payments by the end of May if all goes according to plan, said a USDA spokesperson on Thursday. In that case, the payments would follow the USDA’s awarding of contracts for another part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, the Farmers to Families Food Box. (No paywall)
Farmers across the nation may be forced to kill 700,000 hogs a week because of coronavirus closures and slowdowns at slaughter plants, said four Iowa leaders in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence on Monday. Led by Gov. Kim Reynolds, the elected officials asked for federal indemnities to help the farmers stay in business.
Farmers and ranchers will need billions of dollars in coronavirus aid beyond the $16 billion in cash that USDA plans to disburse by June, 28 senators said in a letter to President Trump. At the same time, a band of university economists said USDA aid is weighted 4-to-1 toward producers and that the agency "should arguably show an equivalent amount of creativity to help the broader spectrum of struggling Americans with food needs."(No paywall)
The government offered to help livestock producers locate contractors skilled in killing herds or flocks of animals and to provide cost-share funding for their disposal because the coronavirus pandemic has shut down packing plants and reduced consumer demand. The National Pork Board held a webinar on Sunday that discussed step by step "emergency depopulation and disposal" of hogs.(No paywall)
Out of the $23.5 billion earmarked for agriculture in the latest coronavirus relief package, "I think at least $9 billion will be going to livestock producers," said Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts on Wednesday.(No paywall)