Hoeven: USDA to Provide $16 Billion in Direct Assistance to Farmers and Ranchers, $3 Billion in Agriculture Purchases

BISMARCK, N.D. - Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to support farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program Senator Hoeven secured in the 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. 

“We worked hard to provide USDA with additional resources to help our farmers and ranchers through this tough stretch, including $9.5 billion in emergency funding specifically for our ranchers and other specialty producers,” said Hoeven. “We appreciate the President and USDA Secretary Perdue working to get this round of assistance out quickly, and we will continue our efforts to ensure that these resources are used to assist our producers as effectively as possible. Our farmers and ranchers have continued to provide our nation with food, fuel and fiber during this pandemic, and we need to ensure they have the support necessary to continue their essential work.”

Direct Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers 

USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including:

  • $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 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% 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 early 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 resources in agriculture assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The programs announced today are 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. Additionally, Hoeven secured a $14 billion replenishment of CCC, which will be available in July to assist farmers and ranchers under the CARES Act.     

Last week, Hoeven led an online discussion between USDA officials and North Dakota producers and commodity groups to provide USDA with producers’ feedback as USDA put together the assistance programs. 

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. 

Specifically, Hoeven secured the following in the CARES Act:

Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) – $14 billion to replenish the USDA’s borrowing authority under the CCC, the primary funding source for most farm programs, including Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price Loss Coverage, the Livestock Forage Program and the Market Facilitation Program. The extra authority will support USDA’s efforts to mitigate the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on agriculture producers.

Emergency Appropriations for USDA  $9.5 billion in separate funding for USDA to help producers impacted by COVID-19. This includes livestock and specialty crop producers. Hoeven is working with USDA to provide immediate assistance in a way that fairly benefits different types of producers.