Farm groups praised Congress on Wednesday for including agricultural funding in the $2 trillion stimulus plan designed to mitigate the economic pain from the coronavirus outbreak.
The spending package, the largest aid package in recent U.S. history, includes $9.5 billion for an agricultural disaster fund and a $14 billion boost to the Commodity Credit Corp., which USDA can use to assist producers.
“This essential funding will boost finances — and morale — at a crucial time, given the likelihood of widespread economic damage that may affect consumer demand and international trade,” the National Milk Producers Federation said.
Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, was happy to see those priorities covered as well.
“All members of Congress must understand that farmers have almost no control over the prices of the goods we produce, so fulfilling our commitment to America requires a team effort,” he said.
National Farmers Union also gave a thumbs-up to $210 million in rural health care funding, $100 million for rural broadband, and $15.5 billion to help the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program meet an expected increase in enrollment.
Farm finances were already strained after trade wars and several years of weak commodity prices.
But the shutdown of nonessential businesses has also slashed opportunities to serve farmers markets, schools and restaurants.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition warns direct-marketing farmers could lose $1 billion in sales to those outlets this year.
Congress was expected to move quickly to get the aid package to President Donald Trump.