Hoeven Reviews $19 Billion Ag Assistance Program with North Dakota Producers, Gathers Input for Administration
Program Uses Emergency Funding Senator Secured in CARES Act for Farmers & Ranchers, Also Included EIDL Eligibility for Ag Business in COVID-19 Funding Agreement
BISMARCK, N.D. - Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, today held a video conference with North Dakota producers and commodity groups on the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) announced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week. Hoeven hosted the discussion to gather input to bring back to the administration as it works to finalize the details of the program in the coming days. Today’s conference comes as part of a series of meetings the senator has held to review the implementation of the federal government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response and ensure North Dakotans can best access the assistance. Hoeven held an initial discussion on this assistance with the state’s agriculture industry earlier this month.
Specifically, Hoeven outlined the following support for farmers and ranchers within the CFAP:
- $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program Senator Hoeven secured in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and $6.5 billion in Credit Commodity Corporation (CCC) funding.
- $3 billion in purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. USDA will work with local food and regional distributors to deliver food to food banks, as well as community and faith-based organizations to provide food to those in need.
Further, Hoeven highlighted a provision he worked to secure in the COVID-19 funding agreement passed by the Senate today to ensure that farmers and ranchers are eligible for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Emergency EIDL Grants.
“Our farmers and ranchers need immediate assistance, which is why we’ve worked with the administration to advance these programs quickly and in a way that’s fair, after securing the emergency funding in the CARES Act,” said Hoeven. “USDA expects to finalize details of the food assistance program soon, making today’s discussion timely. The input gathered today is an important step in our ongoing efforts to support our agriculture producers through these challenging times.”
Direct Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers
USDA is finalizing the plan, which would provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including an expected:
- $9.6 billion for the livestock industry.
- $5.1 billion for cattle.
- $2.9 billion for dairy.
- $1.6 billion for hogs.
- $3.9 billion for row crop producers.
- $2.1 billion for specialty crops producers.
- $500 million for others crops.
Producers will receive a single payment determined by using two calculations:
- Price losses that occurred January 1-April 15, 2020. Producers will be compensated for 85% of price loss during that period.
- Second part of the payment will be expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters, and will cover 30% of expected losses.
The payment limit is $125,000 per commodity with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. Qualified commodities must have experienced a 5 percent price decrease between January and April.
USDA is expediting the rule making process for the direct payment program and expects to begin sign-up for the new program in May and to get payments out to producers by the end of May or early June.
As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven secured nearly $25 billion in agriculture assistance under the CARES Act. The CFAP is made available using $9.5 billion in emergency funding in the CARES Act, as well as USDA’s existing CCC funding and current Section 32 authority. Hoeven also secured a $14 billion replenishment of CCC, which will be available in July to assist farmers and ranchers under the CARES Act.
Additionally, Hoeven has urged Agriculture Secretary Perdue multiple times in recent weeks on the importance of providing assistance to producers impacted by low commodity prices, like cattle producers. Hoeven has also spoken with Stephen Censky, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, and Greg Ibach, Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, to stress the issue.
During negotiations on the CARES Act, Hoeven worked to ensure support for farm country, including leading a Senate colloquy to outline the importance of the provisions after the original legislation was blocked from advancing. Hoeven also worked with the American Farm Bureau to organize a letter of support from agriculture groups across rural America.
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