The latest COVID-19 relief bill, passed by Congress a little over two weeks ago, includes about $13 billion to agricultural programs, entitling producers, food assistance programs, ag research and more to a cut of the funding.
Several food assistance, economic relief and ag-specific programs were created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which was passed in March, 2020. Most applications for the new round of funding created by this bill have not yet reopened, but local ag officials are keeping an eye on the process.
“Agriculture was included in the COVID-19 relief bill that President Trump signed during Christmas,” AgriLife Extension Agent Corrie Bowen said. “We’ll be getting more details on that soon.”
A majority of the agriculture funding, about $11.2 billion, is set to go directly to commodity producers. Farmers can receive $20 per eligible acre for select crops, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Crops making producers eligible for the payments are limited to commodities that experienced at least 5 percent market price decline, and are defined as price trigger crops under the US Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2. Examples include corn, sorghum, soybeans and upland cotton as well as beef cattle, pigs and eggs.
Crops that are ineligible for the payments are Extra Long Staple cotton, buckwheat, oats, peanuts, varieties of rice and more. These commodities do not qualify because they did not see a minimum 5 percent price decline during the specified period or the USDA doesn’t have enough data to determine the price change.
Some individuals across the country have received their $600 stimulus check, which accounts for about $166 billion of the total $900 billion stimulus package, according to the Wall Street Journal. This is the second stimulus check Americans will be receiving due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the first being supplied by the CARES Act.
Programs created by the CARES Act, such as CFAP and the Paycheck Protection Program will receive additional funding through the newest stimulus bill.
About $200 million, or $20 million annually over the next decade, was designated to fund nutrition research, $300 million in assistance is set for fisheries and about $1 billion will go to contract poultry and livestock growers, according to AFB.