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USDA Secretary says 2nd Coronavirus Assistance Program is coming for farmers

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 9:18 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The USDA continues to mail checks to farmers under terms of the Coronavirus Food Assistance program. As of the end of August almost 9 and a half billion of the 16 billion dollars allocated for the program had been sent out. Livestock producers have gotten the most-almost 4.7 billion dollars. Another 2 point 5 billion has gone out to non-specialty crop producers while dairy farmers have gotten just over $1.7 billion. Iowa farmers have seen the most money from that program-almost $935 million with Minnesota farmers getting over 583 million and Wisconsin farmers seeing $509.6 million so far.

This week Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said a second Coronavirus Assistance Program is coming. The first program only covers losses through April 15th and farm groups have been vocal in saying that some big losses have hit farm country since then because of the virus. Secretary Perdue says he agrees with that and that he expects to announce a new program any day with sign-up to begin shortly after it’s announced. The sign-up for the first program ends on September 11th.

The USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program is helping a lot of people in need during the Covid-19 pandemic. During July and August, the program handed out over 77 million food boxes filled with dairy and meat products as well as fresh produce purchased directly from American farmers. So far that program has spent over $3 billion and earlier this week President Trump pledged another $1 billion to keep the program going.

The calendar continues to change for major events in agriculture. One casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic is the University of Wisconsin’s Farm and Industry Short course which has been held on campus for over a hundred years. University officials have announced that the 2020-2021 program will only be offered on line. Other program changes include the Dairy Business Association’s annual Dairy Strong conference January 19th thru the 21st will also be a virtual event only. Changes are also reaching into 2021 as the groups that put on the annual Wisconsin Corn-Soy conference have also said no live meeting in 2021. Instead they will offer on line programs with a return to an in person meeting in 2022.

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