The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, includes several provisions offering support for U.S. agribusiness, ranchers, and farmers. Overall the legislation includes roughly $49 billion in funding for crop and livestock producers, nutrition assistance, and support for local producers to thwart the negative impacts that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is having on the U.S. economy.
However, while funding set aside for individuals is beginning to flow to American workers and American small businesses, the CARES Act includes little direction from Congress to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding how funding will be distributed and so far, no guidance from USDA on eligibility requirements, process, or timing has been made public. Currently, the USDA is working directly with stakeholders to determine how and what kind of assistance program will be established and implemented. Several trade associations representing a variety commodity interests, and others, have already started to engage the White House and Capitol Hill with specific wish lists of what each group would like to see in a USDA program.
This GT Alert provides a useful summary of the $9.5 billion disaster relief program within USDA; $14 billion to boost the $30 billion in existing borrowing authority for the Farm Bill’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), bolstering nutrition programs, and further potential agriculture-specific support.