Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that they would be making more than $330 million available to help agricultural producers and organizations in the food supply recover from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding that was announced today is part of the recently announced Pandemic Assistance for Producers. It includes $169.9 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), $75 million for Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program grantees, and $80 million in payments to domestic users of upland and extra-long staple cotton. This funding was appropriated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 that passed in December of 2020.
The $169.9 million for the SCPGB will be used to fund innovative projects designed to support the expanding specialty crop food sector and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. The total includes:
- $72.9 million available as part of the annual Farm Bill funding for the program; and
- An additional $97 million available as emergency funding for applications under this solicitation. Congress provided this funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, due to COVID-19 impacts to the food system.
USDA will also provide approximately $80 million in additional payments to domestic users of upland and extra-long staple cotton to support textile mills impacted by the pandemic. Under this one-time payment program, known as the Pandemic Assistance for Cotton Users (PACU) program, USDA will pay $.06 per pound to domestic users based on a 3-year monthly average during 2017 through 2019, covering 10 months in 2020. The program and payment formula were established by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
Finally, the USDA will soon implement the Dairy Donation Program (DDP) as established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The program will support a timely donation of dairy products to nonprofit organization. For more information, visit www.ams.usda.gov/notices
For more information regarding Pandemic Assistance for Producers, visit www.usda.gov