Earlier this month, the federal government approved $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 economic relief, including $1400 stimulus checks for most Americans, vaccination resources, and aid to state and local governments. Provisions in the package for agriculture, known as the American Rescue Plan, amount to a relatively minor $16 billion spread across several programs.
A key portion of the agriculture funding includes billions in debt relief for farmers who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). This provision is a version of the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act, which the new senator from Georgia, Raphael Warnock, introduced earlier this year.
The relief package also includes $100 million in financial assistance and fee reductions for small meat processors who have been operating at or beyond their capacity during the pandemic. This provision is a small step toward addressing long-standing bottlenecks that farmers and ranchers across the country have experienced in the meat processing sector. To read more about CCOF efforts to address meat processing challenges, check out the CCOF blog.