USDA announced this evening that it will provide $19 billion in funding to aid the agriculture industry, hit hard by COVID-19. The funds will come from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act as well as supplementary USDA funds to support commodity prices and provide direct support to producers.
“We are happy that USDA worked quickly to provide the bulk of support directly to farmers and ranchers who are hurting terribly,” said CFB president and Alamosa rancher Don Shawcroft. “USDA’s swift action to allocate CARES Act funding provides a rainbow of hope in uncertain times. This aid will help our critical industry weather the COVID-19 storm as together we get America back up and running again.”
The industry has been buffeted by demand shocks and cratering commodity prices as a result of COVID-19 and statewide stay-at-home orders. The beef and dairy markets, Colorado’s first and second-largest ag sectors, have been hit particularly hard.
The plan will provide $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program in the CARES Act and $6.5 billion in Credit Commodity Corporation (CCC) funding. The funds will be allocated by industry sector including:
- $9.6 billion for the livestock industry
o $5.1 billion for cattle
o $2.9 billion for dairy
o $1.6 billion for hogs
- $3.9 billion for row crop producers
- $2.1 billion for specialty crops producers
- $500 million for others crops
It also provides $3 billion in purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. USDA will work with local food and regional distributors to deliver food to food banks, as well as community and faith-based organizations to provide food to those in need.
Additional details about the plan are forthcoming and CFB will continue to update members as the specifics of the program become available.