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$6.2 billion in coronavirus assistance given to U.S. crop farmers

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 8:07 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - As of this week, payments from the second Coronavirus Food Assistance Program have come to almost 13 and a quarter billion dollars. Those payments have been sent to almost 892,000 people. The biggest share of the payments, $6.2 billion, has gone to crop farmers with another 3.4 billion going to livestock producers, 1.2 billion to dairy and just over 56 million dollars going to the poultry industry. Total payouts so far under the first CFAP program are holding at just over 10 and a half billion dollars. Payments under both programs are expected to increase as some provisions in the programs have changed for some producers to be able to increase their payments based on 2020 revenue losses.

The greatest concerns for agriculture with the new Biden Administration seem to be what will happen to regulations. So far only one has to do with the USDA and that involves Roadless Conservation areas in the National Forest Lands in Alaska. But there are 48 regulation reviews for the Environmental Protection Agency and one of those is the Waters of the USA Rules which deeply affect agriculture. Also 31 other regulations overseen by the Interior department are also up for review.

Government efforts to clean-up a price fixing scheme in the poultry industry are costing some of the company’s involved some big money. Tyson Foods, one of the companies charged, has just agreed to pay 221 and a half million dollars to escape further charges. Previously Pilgrim’s pride agreed to a $75 million payment to get out of the lawsuit. The settlements mean neither company admits any guilt to charges they conspired with other companies and buyers to fix prices. The first lawsuit claiming price fixing against these two poultry producers and others was filed in 2016.

It’s been just over a year since the U.S. and China signed that Phase One Trade deal. Under terms of the deal, China, among other provisions, agreed to buy about $36 billion worth of U.S agricultural products in the first year of the agreement. But new numbers show they haven’t reached that figure even though they’ve been buying a lot of our corn and soybeans recently in an attempt to rebuild their hog herd that was devastated by African Swine Flu. At the end of November, receipts show the Chinese are about $17 billion short as they only purchased $19.4 billion of our farm products during the first year of that deal.

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