What’s in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for agriculture?
In early March, the Senate passed the $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package in a party line vote (The 2021 US bailout law). The legislation returns to the House – likely this week – before it can be submitted to the White House for final approval. While much of the coverage of the legislation has focused on $ 1,400 stimulus checks for eligible people, extended unemployment benefits, a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and increased assistance through of the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, there are several provisions related to agriculture.
Together, nutritional and agricultural provisions are estimated at $ 22.7 billion. Today’s article reviews the agricultural provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The agricultural provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 allocate approximately $ 10.4 billion to programs designed to strengthen the agricultural and food supply chain, for example, animal surveillance or mitigation efforts. COVID-19 for agricultural workers; additional resources to purchase and distribute agricultural products to non-profit organizations, restaurants or other food-related entities; increase access to health care in rural communities; and provide debt relief and other support programs to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
Food supply chain and agriculture pandemic response
The law allocates $ 3.6 billion, or about 35% of total agricultural spending, to the USDA to purchase and distribute agricultural products and fund COVID-19 mitigation efforts for workers in agriculture and agriculture. the supply chain. Similar efforts across the Farmers to Families Food Box Program enabled the delivery of more than 140 million food boxes including dairy products, fluid milk, fruits, vegetables and pre-cooked meats. This package differs in that food donation efforts should now also include other distribution channels such as restaurants and food related entities that can receive, store, process and distribute food items.
Other efforts to protect the food and agricultural supply chain include $ 300 million for animal tracking and surveillance efforts for the incidence of SARS-CoV-2. For example, mink and cats are more likely to expose humans to the viral strain that causes COVID-19 in humans. Another $ 100 million is allocated to reduce fees associated with overtime inspection costs at small and very small federally inspected meat, poultry and egg processing facilities.
Help for socially disadvantaged farmers
Although the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 does not directly affect funds, it is estimated that $ 4 billion will be used to provide direct payments for up to 120% of a socially disadvantaged person, e.g. black, Hispanic , Native American or Asian American, farmer or pastoralist outstanding debt as of January 1, 2021. Loans include USDA Farm Service Agency Direct Farm Loans, USDA Guaranteed Loans, and Storage Loans agriculture from the Commodity Credit Corporation, among others. The additional 20% is intended to reimburse taxes related to the amount of the direct payment related to the outstanding debt.
In addition to debt cancellation, the law allocates $ 1.01 billion to provide outreach, training, education, technical assistance, grants and loans, and funding to institutions of ‘education to help improve access to land for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and to resolve inheritance issues of other issues. In total, more than $ 5 billion is expected to finance provisions to help socially disadvantaged farmers or to alleviate the debt of these farmers and ranchers.
Food for peace
To fight hunger, food insecurity, and support humanitarian efforts around the world, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $ 800 million for the Food for Peace program. In fiscal 2018, the Food for Peace program provided in-kind food to the United States, purchased local food items, provided food vouchers, and made cash transfers to more than 76 million beneficiaries in 59 country.
Rural development grants for rural health care
The law provides $ 500 million for various rural health efforts, including, but not limited to, increasing the capacity to distribute vaccines, improving access to medical supplies, increasing telehealth capacities, supporting staffing needs for vaccine distribution or COVID-19 testing and providing nutritional assistance to vulnerable communities.
On March 6, the Senate passed, in an online party vote, the nearly $ 2 trillion U.S. bailout bill, 2021, with more direct payments to eligible Americans, unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions and seizures to boost nutritional assistance programs and improve access to food supplies in the United States. Nutritional and agricultural support is estimated at $ 22.7 billion.
For agriculture, more than $ 10 billion is earmarked for the purchase and distribution of agricultural products such as fresh produce, milk and dairy products, seafood, eggs and meat to people in the need at home and abroad, to help COVID-19 mitigation efforts for agricultural workers, improve rural health care and provide debt relief to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
The legislation now returns to the House for consideration and vote, before traveling to the White House for final approval.