The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is set to begin offering more assistance to ag producers and organizations recovering from financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commission made the announcement on Wednesday, April 14.
More than $330 million in funding was announced as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative launched in March, and includes $169.9 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) in which Louisiana participates.
This funding, according to The Commission, will aid in developing new markets for U.S. agricultural products, expand the specialty crop food sector, and promote the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers.
Grant project funding awarded as part of pandemic assistance can also go to organizations to assist farmworkers (e.g., for PPE and vaccination costs), projects to fund farmers, food businesses, and other relevant entities to respond to risks and supply chain disruption.
Approximately $80 million is also available to domestic users of upland and extra-long staple cotton. Upland cotton is predominantly grown in Louisiana.
USDA also informed dairy producers and processors about plans for the Dairy Donation Program (DDP) as established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. The program will facilitate the timely donation of dairy products to nonprofit organizations that distribute food to persons in need and prevent and minimize food waste. For more information, visit www.ams.usda.gov/notices.
USDA launched the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative in March with $6.5 billion in available funding to address shortfalls. There is also a focus on strengthening outreach to underserved producers and communities and small and medium agricultural operations as well as beginning farmers and ranchers, socially disadvantaged producers and/or veteran producers.
Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 11, 2021.
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