On December 21, Congress approved a $900 billion COVID stimulus package, including up to $13 billion in funding for agriculture.
The $13 billion allocation to USDA can be used at the Secretary’s discretion, similar to provisions passed earlier in the year under the CARES Act. In addition, growers excluded from previous aid packages will now qualify for assistance, including livestock and poultry producers impacted by processing plant disruptions.
Other agricultural highlights include:
- 80% reimbursement for losses due to premature euthanization or canceled orders.
- More than $1 billion to the Dairy Donation Program and supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage payments for small and medium-sized producers.
- $20 per planted acre for non-specialty crops.
- $100 million in additional funding for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to offset pandemic-induced market losses.
- Crop insurance payments and disaster payments may be used to calculate 2019 sales.
- $7 billion is allocated for broadband, including $300 million for rural broadband and $250 million for telehealth.
- 15% increase in SNAP benefits.
The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will be expanded to include certain nonprofits and adds $284 billion to the program, which launched earlier this year under the Small Business Administration Any forgiven PPP loans can be deducted for tax purposes without limit, a positive provision sought by Farm Bureau.
The late-night vote also included a series of appropriations bills and the reauthorization of the Water Resources and Development Act.
Read the full relief bill here.