The United States ag industry will see an impact from the $1.9 trillion legislative package COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress earlier this month. The package includes commodity buying for food assistance and addressing racial inequality in agriculture.
Title I of the law, which is separated into sections titled agriculture and nutrition, is aimed at funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Aspects in Title I will be of interest for many farmers and ag professionals across the country.
While the American Rescue Plan does not include another direct payment program for producers, the country is still awaiting the $11 billion implementation of Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 3, which the implementation of is still unknown.
By section, here are most of the appropriations in the law relating to agriculture or rural populations:
Subtitle A, Section 1001
$3.6 billion for food/ag commodity purchasing and distribution, as well as loans and grants to small and mid-sized food processors, farmers markets, producers or other organizations.
$300 million for animal disease monitoring.
$100 million to reduce administrative costs to small and very small USDA inspected establishments.
Subtitle A, Section 1002
$500 million for USDA’s Rural Development agency for emergency grants for rural health care.
Subtitle A, Section 1003-4
$47.5 million to administer pandemic programs via USDA, and $2.5 million for COVID-19 related USDA program oversight.
Subtitle A, Section 1005
$4 billion to make qualifying payments of 120% of outstanding farm loan debt to socially disadvantaged farmers.
Subtitle A, Section 1006
$1 billion to fund outreach, improve land access, address the heirs’ property issues, support new lending institutions and provide legal aid to socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers and groups.
Subtitle A, Section 1007
$800 million to the Commodity Credit Corp. for special acquisition and redistribution of commodities via grants as prescribed by the Food for Peace Act Title II.
Subtitle B, Section 1101
$1.15 billion to increase access to Supplemental Food Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) program benefits at 115% of the previous plan value.
Subtitle B, Section 1102-1104
$25 million for improving SNAP online and electronic benefit transfer technology.
$1 billion to provide grants for nutrition assistance to Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
$37 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program.