COLUMBIA – Last week, Congress and President Trump approved a new bipartisan aid package to address the expanding COVID-19 pandemic. The total relief package includes roughly $2 trillion to bolster the US economy as we fight the devastating spread of COVID-19 — and offers critical aid to the agriculture industry.
The bill includes:
- $9.5 billion in emergency funding to the USDA to support agriculture industries impacted by COVID-19, including fruit and vegetable producers, livestock producers, and producers focused on local food systems.
- $350 billion for a new Small Business Paycheck Protection Program that could provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to small employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.
- $14 billion for USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for possible Market Facilitation Payments and produce purchases.
- $562 million for the Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, allowing small businesses to cover expenses such as paid sick leave for employees directly affected by COVID-19.
- $300 million in Department of Commerce aid to the fishing and aquaculture industries.
- Numerous other funding streams that could benefit South Carolina agribusiness.
“I thank our partners in Washington for recognizing that agribusiness is critical to the continued safety and health of our nation’s people, as well as our economy,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers. “The South Carolina Department of Agriculture will be a resource for South Carolina farmers looking to access this crucial aid.”
Visit the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s COVID-19 page, agriculture.sc.gov/coronavirus, for more information about the relief bill and links to apply for aid.