On Friday, April 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its plans to provide support to America’s farmers and ranchers who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The support program will be funded through existing dollars available through the Commodity Credit Corporation and $9.6 billion that was allocated to USDA in the coronavirus recovery legislation passed recently.
The $9.6 billion will be distributed as direct payments to producers based on actual losses. Cattle producers will receive $5.1 billion, the largest amount of any commodity group. Direct payments will be calculated based on losses in two different time periods: from Jan. 1 through April 15 and from April 15 through the end of September. Producers will be compensated for 85% of the calculated loss during the first period and for 30% of the expected loss for the second period.
USDA hopes to start taking applications in early May and to have checks in the mail by late May to early June. Several details of the program remain unanswered. Stay informed, keep good records of sales and expenses, and be ready to apply when they start taking applications.