Bill Provides Support for Farmers, Rural Hospitals; provided by National Farmers Union

To alleviate the current and potential economic fallout from the global COVID-19 pandemic, the president signed into law a $2 trillion emergency relief bill that will continue to aid the response efforts.

The bill provides $130 billion for hospitals, $150 billion for local and state governments, direct payments to individuals, and $300 billion in financial aid for small businesses. Several provisions are of particular interest to National Farmers Union (NFU):

Rural Health
– $185 million to support rural critical access hospitals, rural tribal health and telehealth programs, and poison control centers.
– $25 million to improve access to distance learning and telemedicine through U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development.

Agricultural Assistance
– $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which is used to stabilize, support, and protect farm income and prices through initiatives like the Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
– $9.5 billion to help specialty crop growers, farmers who support local food systems, dairy farmers, and livestock producers.
– A temporary three-month extension on repayment of commodity marketing assistance loans, from nine months to a year.

Rural Businesses and Communities
– The availability of Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to cooperatives with fewer than 500 employees.
– $100 million to improve access to rural broadband through the ReConnect program.
– $20.5 million to support an additional $1 billion of lending through USDA’s Rural Development  Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program.

Nutrition Assistance
– $15.5 billion in additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to assist more participants. This will not increase benefit levels for individuals.
– $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs.
– $450 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Resource: National Farmers Union