I am a farmer. What resources are available to me?
Congress provided financial assistance to farmers who are experiencing severe financial losses during the pandemic. This includes a $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund for specialty crop, dairy, livestock, and local food produces who have been unable to receive emergency assistance in the past, as well as $14 billion to fund the Farm Bill’s farm safety net through the Commodity Credit Corporation. On April 17th, USDA announced the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) to deliver the funding and assistance provided in the CARES Act. CFAP is a $19 billion relief program to provide critical support for farmers, support the food supply chain and increase food access for families across the country. It includes two components:
Direct assistance to farmers – USDA will provide $16 billion in direct support based on losses for agricultural producers where prices and market supply chains have been impacted. USDA is working to develop the specific guidelines and payments for this program and anticipates that sign-up will begin in May.
Purchase and Distribution – USDA will partner with regional and local distributors to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat. Participating wholesalers will then provide boxes of fresh produce, dairy and meat purchases to food banks, community and faith based organizations and other non-profits serving communities in need of food assistance. More information on USDA’s Farmers to Food Box Program is available here.
What financial support is available to support my business?
Relief also includes eligibility for farmers and agricultural and rural businesses to receive funding through small business interruption loans from eligible lenders through the Small Business Administration. For more information on measures to help small businesses, please refer to the section for Businesses and Self-Employed here. The Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act made clear that agricultural producers with 500 or fewer employees are eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Farmers and agricultural businesses were also already eligible for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Additional investments have also been provided to support small towns and rural communities, as well as protections for consumers and the food supply.
If you are a farmer who needs direct assistance, you can find additional resources here:
U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is encouraging Pennsylvania food distributors, including food hubs, farmers markets and other entities, to apply for the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Farmers to Families Food Box initiative. Read More
In light of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the agriculture industry, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) held a call with Pennsylvania agriculture leaders to discuss solutions, challenges and needs for farmers across the Commonwealth. Read More
Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) led a bipartisan group of Pennsylvania's U.S. Representatives in a letter urging leadership in the Senate and the House of Representatives to address the growing food insecurity crisis in Pennsylvania, and throughout the country, by providing critical investments to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Read More