USDA Say New COVID Stimulus Funds Now Extend to Help Hemp Farmers

1.9 min readPublished On: January 15th, 2021By

(Washington, D.C.) USDA have said funding for Hemp farmers affected by COVID will be released as early as this month, through the $900 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. A new bill just signed into law last month. Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Northey announced the news during a conference call to journalists last week. Eligible farmers would receive payments of $20 an acre which translates to circa $5 billion.

This comes on top of last year’s CARES Act supported by the Commodity Credit Corporation. 2020 CARES provided direct assistance payments to eligible farmers that had suffered significant losses occurred due to COVID-19 pandemic-related market disruption. However, USDA defines Hemp as a “flat-rate” crop, a category set up for crops that don’t meet a 5% price decline trigger. As such, initial first round of funding from last spring’s CARES Act, excluded Hemp farmers. This latest stimulus funding now includes Hemp farmers.

A new third round of funding was announced today by president-elect Joe Biden. Today Biden unveiled a $1.9TN ‘’American Recuse Fund’’  which  proposes additional pandemic assistance after he takes office.  Both the December funding and future funding will be administered by the incoming Democratic agriculture secretary.

Biden is expected to nominate Tom Vilsack (pictred above) as agriculture secretary. While not yet confirmed, the appointment is considered to be positive by most farmers. Vilsack served as USDA secretary for eight years in the Obama administration, so his experience may help him get nominated and ”hit the ground running.”

But U.S. agriculture has changed a lot in the last four years, particularly when it comes to government aid for farmers, which shattered records in 2020. Most of that was from coronavirus assistance programs, though Trump-era payments also sought to ease the strain of the U.S.-China trade war on farmers.

Direct government payments to U.S. farmers are projected to account for almost 40% of U.S. net farm income in 2020, the highest share since 2001. It’s uncertain what Biden’s new strategy will be and whether or not he will retain such huge payments to farmers. But many industry insiders believe the money faucet will not be switched off in 2021, but we will see lower amounts of farm subsidies the COVID crisis eventually recedes.

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