U.S. Rep. TJ Cox announces $19 billion in aid for Central Valley farmers and ranchers

U.S. Rep. TJ Cox announces $19 billion in aid for Central Valley farmers and ranchers

April 20, 2020

On April 17, U.S. Rep. TJ Cox issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to support farmers and ranchers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • $16 billion in direct payments for farmers and ranchers, funded using the $9.5 billion emergency program secured in the CARES Act and $6.5 billion in Credit Commodity Corporation funding
  • $3 billion in purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. USDA will work with local food and regional distributors to deliver food to food banks, as well as community and faith-based organizations to provide food to those in need.

Cox has repeatedly fought for big wins for agriculture by working with his fellow members of Congress to press the USDA to support those producers who are hurt the worse by this crisis. This has included leading efforts to urge the USDA to help a variety of different ag producers:

  • Urging the USDA to provide direct payments to all dairy producers, as well as to make substantial purchases of a variety of dairy products to help stabilize farmer prices and help food banks. This helps dairy producers combat the decreased demand in their products
  • Stressing the importance of the produce industry by urging the USDA to purchase fresh produce from crop producers for nutrition programs, as well as to give direct payments to specialty crop producers hit worst by the pandemic, and to be more flexible with obligations that growers and shippers may struggle to meet during this crisis
  • Supporting the cut flower and greenery industry by urging the USDA to use the money provided by Congress to assist flower growers as they face unprecedented shutdowns. As they are not considered essential and supermarkets are no longer buying their stock, they are being hit harder than many during this crisis
  • Highlighting how local farmers and ranchers have been hurt by this crisis by urging the USDA to develop and implement a program that would deliver targeted, equitable relief to meat and produce producers in order to help struggling farms and ranches during the crisis, and to make sure that Americans still have access to the food they need.

“We’ve fought hard to get our farmers and ranchers and those who depend on a strong agriculture economy what they need to weather this crisis,” said Cox. “I will continue to fight hard to ensure our farmers and ranchers are able to do what they do best and that is to continue to feed the world. I’m proud to represent the largest ag district in the largest ag state, and my team and I are here to serve the Central Valley at this difficult time.”

The USDA will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers and ranchers including:

  • $9.6 billion for the livestock industry
  • $5.1 billion for cattle
  • $2.9 billion for dairy
  • $1.6 billion for hogs
  • $3.9 billion for row crop producers
  • $2.1 billion for specialty crops producers
  • $500 million for others crops

Producers will receive a single payment determined using two calculations:

  • Price losses that occurred Jan. 1 through April 15. Producers will be compensated for 85 percent of price loss during that period
  • Second part of the payment will be expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters and will cover 30 percent of expected losses.

The payment limit is $125,000 per commodity with an overall limit of $250,000 per individual or entity. Qualified commodities must have experienced a 5 percent price decrease between January and April. USDA is expediting the rule making process for the direct payment program and expects to begin sign-up for the new program in early May and to get payments out to producers by the end of May or early June.