NFU: What’s in Stimulus Package for Farmers and Rural Communities?

Bill Provides Support for Farmers, Rural Hospitals

WASHINGTON – To alleviate the current and potential economic fallout from the global COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. lawmakers are poised to pass a response, relief, and stimulus package with a nearly $2 trillion price tag.

The bill, which is the most expensive in the country’s history, provides $130 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for local and state governments, direct payments to individuals, and $300 billion in financial aid for small businesses. Several provisions are of particular interest to National Farmers Union (NFU):

Rural Health

– $185 million to support rural critical access hospitals, rural tribal health and telehealth programs, and poison control centers.
– $25 million to improve access to distance learning and telemedicine through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.
Agricultural Assistance
– $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which is used to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices through initiatives like the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
– $9.5 billion to help specialty crop growers, farmers who support local food systems, dairy farmers, and livestock producers.
–  A temporary three-month extension on repayment of commodity marketing assistance loans, from nine months to a year.
Rural Businesses and Communities
– The availability of  Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to cooperatives with fewer than 500 employees.
– $100 million to improve access to rural broadband through the ReConnect program.
– $20.5 million to support an additional $1 billion of lending through USDA’s Rural Development  Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program.
Nutrition Assistance
– $15.5 billion in additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to assist more participants. This will not increase benefit levels for individuals.
– $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs.
NFU President Rob Larew said that the bill “would address many of our most urgent concerns,” primarily ensuring that rural hospitals are adequately prepared to handle this crisis and that our food system can continue to operate. He thanked Congress for their efforts and urged them to enact the bill as soon as possible. “The challenges our country is currently facing are unprecedented – and they call for unprecedented solutions,” Larew said. “In the coming weeks, we will learn more about the additional needs of our rural health care system, farmers, and rural communities, and we urge Congress to be ready to address them.”
Read more in the NFU release.

About NFU
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.