Tallahassee, Fla. — Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided details of $6 billion in aid to agriculture producers as part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, with emphasis on addressing gaps and disparities in previous rounds of assistance. First announced in March, the assistance is planned to be implemented within the next 60 days. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services applauded this aid, aimed at increasing equitable assistance for the agriculture industry.
The federal assistance includes:
- $700 million for Pandemic Response and Safety Grants for PPE and protective measures for specialty crop, meat, and seafood workers
- $580 million for Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage for small and medium farms
- $400 million for the new Dairy Donation Program to address food insecurity and mitigate food waste
- $200 million for small, family-owned timber harvesting and hauling businesses
- $20 million for organic cost share assistance, such as producers transitioning to organic
“With so many agricultural businesses and producers lacking equitable access to earlier assistance under the previous administration, this aid will be incredibly helpful to Florida’s farmers, ranchers, specialty crop growers, dairy producers, and forest landowners,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “We’ve seen inspiring resilience from our agriculture community, from our seasonal produce growers and dairy farmers dealing with market disruptions, to timber farmers still recovering from natural disasters, to farmworkers producing a steady food supply while on the front lines of the pandemic. I thank President Biden, Secretary Vilsack, and the USDA for making this relief available as part of the $11 billion in agriculture assistance they’ve committed since January, helping put American farmers first.”
CFAP 2 Continuation: USDA also announced in March that sign-ups for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) would reopen on April 5, 2021 for at least 60 days, in part to increase outreach to socially disadvantaged communities, small and medium sized agriculture producers, and farmers and producers of less traditional crops. Enrollment for CFAP 2 remains open and eligible Florida agriculture producers are encouraged to apply for this assistance.
Under the Biden Administration, USDA has allocated $11 billion in assistance for agriculture, including CFAP payments to farmers, ranchers, and producers, specialty crop block grants, beginning farmer and rancher development assistance, low-income nutrition incentives, local agriculture marketing assistance, pandemic cover crop support, and American Rescue Plan debt relief for socially disadvantaged producers.