WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced today that producers in Minnesota and across the country hit hard by the pandemic can apply for federal relief funds before September 17.
The two Senators, both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, pressed U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in June to expedite and prioritize relief for farmers, livestock producers, biofuel processors, and timber harvesters and haulers.
“The coronavirus pandemic brought unprecedented challenges for agriculture workers and rural communities across Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “This relief will help ensure our farmers and businesses have the resources they need to keep our supply chain strong. I strongly encourage all those eligible to take advantage of this program.”
“Minnesota livestock and poultry producers were hit hard when the pandemic dried up billions of dollars in demand for products,” said Smith. “The cost of humanely depopulating herds was another economic blow during an already difficult time. This funding heeds the bipartisan call I led to help producers who were forced to reduce population numbers. I encourage Minnesotans who are eligible for this funding to apply, and I’ll keep working to help Minnesota farmers and ranchers recover from the pandemic.”
All livestock and poultry producers who suffered depopulation losses between March 31 and December 26, 2020 as a result of insufficient processing access are eligible to apply. Eligible producers will receive 80 percent of the cost of the livestock or poultry and the cost of depopulation and disposal.
Klobuchar and Smith have been leaders in supporting agricultural and rural communities throughout the pandemic. In April 2020, the Senators worked to ensure farmers would be eligible for federal small business support and urged Leaders Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) to include provisions authorizing programs and funding for the USDA to assist the domestic poultry industry in any legislation to address the impact of the pandemic. The Senators also successfully pushed to include relief for livestock producers in the bipartisan coronavirus relief bill in December 2020. In May 2021, Klobuchar announced that turkey producers who experienced pandemic related losses would be eligible for additional relief through USDA programs. And when COVID-19 shut down plants and caused an animal welfare crisis due to overcrowding, Smith led a bipartisan Senate push to help pork producers humanely depopulate herds to prevent animal suffering.