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Pandemic payments to producers top $400 million under Biden

An estimated $5.6 billion is available to cattle producers and row-crop farmers.

Since it restarted its coronavirus relief programs two months ago, the Biden administration has paid $410 million to farmers and ranchers, according to USDA data on Monday. An estimated $5.6 billion is available to cattle producers and row-crop farmers.

Additional payments to swine producers and contract growers remain on hold and are likely to require modifications to regulations written before President Biden took office as part of an effort to reach a broader set of producers. A USDA spokesperson was not immediately available to discuss the status of the pandemic relief programs.

Since the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program began a year ago, the USDA has sent $24.23 billion to producers. Iowa is the leading state for payments, with $2.1 billion, followed by California, $2 billion; Nebraska, $1.6 billion; and Minnesota, $1.4 billion. By commodity, the largest payments went to corn, $5.2 billion; cattle, $2.8 billion; soybeans, $1.8 billion; and milk, $1.2 billion.

There are three iterations of CFAP, one for each of the major coronavirus packages passed by Congress last year. Some $30 million was disbursed last week.

The USDA announced in March that it would put at least $6 billion from this year’s coronavirus bill, into a new initiative, Pandemic Assistance for Producers, to aid fruit and vegetable growers, beginning farmers, and organic farms; donate dairy products to charities; buy personal protective equipment for food and farm workers; and support biofuel producers.

Information about CFAP payments is available here.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.

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