Ag Policy Blog

USDA Aid Being Prepped for Livestock, Dairy, Specialty Crops

Jerry Hagstrom
By  Jerry Hagstrom , DTN Political Correspondent
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., has been talking with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue about details of aid to agricultural producers. (DTN file photo by Chris Clayton)

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is focusing on developing aid programs for livestock, dairy and specialty crop producers ahead of any aid to crop producers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said in a radio interview.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security (CARES) Act provided a $9.5 billion emergency fund for USDA to aid livestock, dairy and specialty crop producers and a $14 billion increase for the Commodity Credit Corporation, a USDA line of credit at the Treasury that is used mostly to aid crop producers.

In the interview with the Red River Farm Network in Minnesota, Peterson said Perdue told him in a telephone conversation last week that he is trying to develop systems for providing aid to the livestock, dairy and specialty crop growers, and that he will “hold off” on aid to commodity growers because they “have gotten significant payments earlier this year.”

Peterson said Perdue told him he will “wait” to see whether the crop producers need more aid.

Perdue “is having the chief economist and staff look at the different aspects of agriculture, trying to figure out what commodities have been the most damaged by the coronavirus,” Peterson said.

“They’re also looking at which ones will have the most damage going forward. USDA may come up with a system like they did the last time, but it would be a different formula. It’s not facilitation payments based on trade. It’s damage that’s been done by COVID-19.”

In the radio interview, Peterson also discussed the issue of aid to dairy farmers, noting that he had supported reopening the signup for the Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program.

Peterson said he is supporting the move because of the “extraordinary circumstance,” but that reopening the signup “undermines” the concept of the DMC as an insurance program.

Dairy farmers, Peterson noted, don’t sign up for programs when they think the futures market indicates they will not get payments. When people buy insurance for their houses they don’t hope the house will burn down and they will get payments. And if people don’t buy flood insurance, they are not allowed to buy the insurance after a flood and get a payment, he said.

“In the future farmers are going to have to look at this differently,” he said.

Peterson said the decision has been made not to reopen the farm bill, but that he would like dairy farmers to able to increase their base production in the dairy program. He said he wanted to put that provision into the CARES Act but that the Senate would not go along with it, and that he wanted to create a new dairy program rather than reopen the farm bill.

-Red River Farm Network — Ag Department Developing COVID-19 Aid Quickly…

CDC, FDA Urges Face Covers, Distance for Grocery, Farm Workers

The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration have recommended that grocery store workers wear cloth face coverings and practice social distancing.

“For workers on farms, and in food production, processing, and retail settings who do not typically wear masks as part of their jobs, consider the following if you choose to use a cloth face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19:”

- Maintain face coverings in accordance with parameters in FDA’s Model Food Code sections 4-801.11 Clean Linens and 4.802.11 Specifications.

-Launder reusable face coverings before each daily use.

CDC has additional information on the use of face coverings, including washing instructions and information on how to make homemade face covers.…

At least four people who had worked at Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Giant markets have died from COVID-19 in recent days, The Washington Post reported, and the Associated Press said grocery workers are scared.

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at

Follow him on Twitter @hagstromreport



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