Food and Ag Provisions in COVID Relief Package

Clint Thompson Coronavirus, Legislative

Tax extenders and a $26 billion infusion for agriculture and nutrition programs are part of the massive $908 billion virus relief and $1.4 billion agency funding package that Congress overwhelmingly passed late Monday night.


When it comes to agriculture, the long-awaited relief adds $13 billion each to agriculture and nutrition aid and includes support for those who were left out earlier assistance. That includes contract livestock and poultry growers, ethanol producers that saw a drop in demand, and livestock and poultry producers who had to depopulate herds and flocks because of supply chain disruptions. The bill also contains assistance for dairy farmers, funding for small and mid-sized livestock processors to attain federal inspection to accommodate increased demand, and animal health work and grants to state departments for ongoing farm stress programs.

American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) tax adviser, Pat Wolff, says it also extends key agriculture tax breaks.

“The credit for second-generation biofuels and excise tax credits for alternative fuels, are extended through 2021. Tax credits for wind are also extended for a short period of time. The big winner is the reduced excise taxes for craft beverages. That tax provision was made permanent.”

The new agriculture aid will go to producers of price-trigger and flat-rate crops and specialty crops, livestock and poultry growers for losses to depopulation, contract growers, cattle producers, food and seafood processors and distributors, farmers markets, and vessels, and to buy food, seafood and Ag goods. Also included is supplemental dairy margin coverage and dairy donation buys, and discretionary aid to advanced and conventional biofuel and biodiesel producers.

Wolff, meantime, says producers receiving forgiven and now-renewed Paycheck Protection Program loans, can also expect new help. Plus, the final bill has $60 billion to upgrade existing meat and poultry processors to help them meet federal inspection standards and sell across state lines.

(From the National Association of Farm Broadcasters)