April 20, 2020
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) applauded an announcement from President Donald Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to alleviate agriculture sector hardships caused by the COVID-19 national emergency.
The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program will distribute $19 billion to support farmers, ranchers and consumers. Direct payments totaling $16 billion will assist producers of beef, pork, dairy, row crops, produce and other crops whose markets have been disrupted due to COVID-19. Producers will receive a single payment based price losses that occurred Jan 1 – April 15 and expected losses from April 15 through the next two quarters. Assistance will be provided starting in May. Producers can contact their local USDA office for more information.
In addition to direct payments to farmers and ranchers, USDA will use $3 billion to partner with regional and local food distributors whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closures of restaurants, hotels and other food service entities by purchasing and distributing the excess goods to local and regional foodbanks and non-profit organizations that are serving hardworking American families during this time.
“Farmers and ranchers have one of the most important missions of all: feeding America. Our farmers and ranchers are instrumental to Oklahoma’s economy, and they’ve been hit hard by the coronavirus. I am glad to see President Trump and Secretary Perdue continue to prioritize them during the COVID-19 crisis,” Inhofe said. “This funding will bring some much needed relief and provide certainty for the people who ensure we have food on our plates and clothes on our backs in these uncertain times. I am proud of President Trump’s continued dedication to our farmers and I will continue to advocate for Oklahoma agricultural producers during this crisis.”
On March 25, Sen. Inhofe voted in favor of the CARES Act, legislation that provided a comprehensive response to the coronavirus crisis. President Trump signed the legislation into law on March 27. The CARES Act included $9.5 billion in funds to assist agricultural producers, as well as additional resources to partially replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation. Additionally, Congress provided flexibility for the Secretary of Agriculture to purchase commodities for emergency distribution in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.