USDA ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL COVID-19 ASSISTANCE FOR AGRICULTURE

K. William Boyer
Devils Lake Journal

NORTH DAKOTA- U.S. Department of Agriculture announced additional COVID-19 assistance utilizing $13 billion in agriculture funding North Dakota Senator John Hoeven secured in a year-end funding package.

Hoeven said over the past three years, the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, of which he serves as chairman, has secured more than $60 billion in agriculture assistance to help farmers and ranchers, including 23.5 billion in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and $13 billion in the year-end spending package, for agriculture assistance.

“Over the past several years, we’ve worked to secure strong funding to help our farmers and ranchers weather unprecedented challenges including unfair retaliatory trade practices, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hoeven said. “That includes the $13 billion in agriculture we secured as part of COVID relief in late December.

Last week, Hoeven urged U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to quickly distribute the assistance included in the year-end funding bill, including payments for row crops and cattle.

“We made the case to Secretary Vilsack to provide this assistance as quickly as possible, and we appreciate USDA working to get relief to our producers.”

USDA said they will automatically distribute payments over the coming weeks. Producers do not need to sign up or complete an additional application for these payments, according to USDA.  

 About the payments

Row Crop Payments- The year-end funding legislation included assistance for row crop payments. Crops under the price trigger and flat-rate categories from the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) 2 will receive a payment of $20 per acre. Eligible crops include: alfalfa, amaranth grain, barley, buckwheat, canola, corn, crambe (colewort), einkorn, emmer, flax, guar, hemp, kenaf, khorasan, millet, mustard, oats, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame, sorghum, soybeans, speltz, sugar beets, , sunflowers, teff, triticale, all classes of wheat, and others.

Cattle Top-up Payments- Payment rates vary depending on class of cattle and are designed to help producers who sold into a depressed market after the April 15 deadline used in the original CFAP program. This assistance was included as part of the year-end funding legislation, approved in late December.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at kboyer@gannett.com, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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