Aid Package For Ag Could Arrive In July
A new pandemic aid package is now looking more likely in July, and America’s farmers and ranchers say the needs remain great. Pressure’s increasing for more aid as pandemic jobless benefits run out for millions next month, states and cities face depleted budgets, and agriculture struggles with steep losses in livestock, crops and dairy. Farm Bureau Congressional Relations director Andrew Walmsley points to the slow reopening process across states.
Bills calling for 50 billion dollars and more for ag have already been introduced in the House, which recently passed the new 3 trillion dollar Heroes Act, including the Renewable Fuel Reimbursement Program. However, the Senate failed to include reimbursement for grain buys for the ethanol industry in the earlier CARES Act, after the oil industry also failed to win help.
Walmsley says in the meantime, livestock producers continue to face huge losses amid meat plant backups and continuing worker virus fears.
Aid to destroy animals that can’t be processed is limited, despite the 19 billion dollar USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program under the original CARES Act. But, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says more overall help could come in July as Republicans assess gains from CARES. The Senate was already expected to pass a narrower House-passed measure to ease limits for small business loan forgiveness.