WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The United States Department of Agriculture on Friday announced an additional $14 billion in relief payments for farmers and ranchers who were directly impacted from the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said that this new aid program will be used to "better meet the needs of those impacted.” He added that "agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic."
This is the second round of assistance for farmers from President Donald Trump's administration since the outbreak began in the U.S. The president mentioned the new round of payments on Thursday night during a rally in rural Wisconsin, but he didn't add any context.
The USDA claims that the funds will be used to support row crops, livestock, specialty crops, dairy, aquaculture and many additional commodities.
The payment will be made to farmers in three different categories: the price trigger commodities, flat-rate crops and sales commodities, according to the USDA.
Price trigger commodities are items that meet a 5% price decline over a specified period of time. Eligible crops include barley, corn, sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, upland cotton, all classes of wheat, milk, broilers, eggs, beef cattle, hogs, lambs and sheep.
Payments for price trigger crops will be the greater of the eligible acres multiplied by a payment rate of $15 per acre or the eligible acres multiplied by a nationwide crop marketing percentage, multiplied by a crop-specific payment rate, and then by the producer’s weighted 2020 Actual Production History approved yield.
The flat rate crops that do not meet the 5% price decline or do not have data to calculate the price change will have payments based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre. These crops include alfalfa, extra long staple cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed, and several others.
The final commodities includes specialty crops, like tobacco, goat milk, mink (including pelts), mohair, wool, and other livestock but excluding breeding stock. These farmers and ranchers will be paid based on five payment incruments associated with their 2019 sales.
There will be a payment cap of $250,000 per person, regardless of payment type. Signups for the program begin on Sept. 21 and goes through Dec. 11, 2020.