Massive funding and relief bill includes agriculture

President Trump has signed into law a massive legislative package that combines an fiscal year 2021 omnibus appropriations bill that funds the entire federal government through September 2021, and a $900 billion supplemental coronavirus package that includes crucial assistance for rice farmers along with billions in aid for the ag and food sectors as well as other industries struggling amid the pandemic.

The bill also includes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) that authorizes millions in funding for the Army Corps of Engineers for critical infrastructure projects to improve waterways. The COVID-19 aid package provides $13 billion for agriculture including a $20 per acre supplemental payment to the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2).

USDA is currently accepting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) for farmers and ranchers whose operations have been impacted by the current pandemic. Signup closes on December 1. CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first iteration of CFAP, now referred to as CFAP 1. There is no requirement to participate in CFAP 1 in order to participate in CFAP 2.

For rice, the $20 per acre supplemental payment will be made on the exact same planted acres for the 2020 crop year that were certified for the original $15 per acre CFAP 1 payment. Producers who applied for CFAP 1 are not automatically signed up for CFAP 2 and must complete a new application in order to be eligible for assistance.

All USDA Service Centers are currently open for business, including some that are open to visitors to conduct business in person by appointment only. You should first call your local Farm Service Agency office and schedule an appointment. If they can’t assist in person, they will be able to help you over the phone, or by mail or email.

An easy first step is to contact our call center at 877-508-8364 and an FSA employee can help you take the first steps toward application.

The deal also includes $13 billion for SNAP and child-nutrition programs including an additional $400 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks meet demand.

Many Americans will receive a $600 stimulus check, and an additional $300 a week in enhanced federal unemployment benefits has been provided. The package also includes $7 billion to expand broadband access, $30 billion for the procurement and distribution of a coronavirus vaccine, and $22 billion for testing and tracing.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will receive an additional $280 billion and the agreement extends a tax credit for retaining employees and makes it available to PPP recipients and extends a broader package of tax incentives including $1.8 billion in tax credits for businesses to provide additional paid leave. The aid package also includes $82 billion in funding for schools and $10 billion for childcare.


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