March 26, 2020

Coronavirus aid package

Topic: Issues

WASHINGTON - Senator John Hoeven, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, released the following statement after securing nearly $25 billion in resources for farmers, ranchers and rural America as part of the Senate-passed Phase III coronavirus response. Specifically, the legislation provides:

$14 billion to replenish Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority for the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA).

$9.5 billion in separate funding for USDA to help producers, including specialty crop and livestock producers, impacted by COVID-19.

“Our farmers and ranchers have continued to supply our nation with the highest-quality, lowest cost food supply in the world despite the challenges they face,” said Hoeven. “This legislation injects $14 billion into the CCC to provide USDA with resources to assist producers. At the same time, we secured an additional $9.5 billion in emergency funding support for farmers and ranchers, including our livestock and specialty crop producers, impacted by COVID-19. We’ll continue working with USDA Secretary Perdue to get this assistance out to our producers and help them during these challenging times.”

On Monday, Hoeven led a Senate colloquy to outline the importance of providing resources for farmers, ranchers and rural America as part of the Phase III COVID-19 relief legislation, after the original legislation was blocked from advancing. Hoeven also worked with the American Farm Bureau to organize a letter of support from agriculture groups across rural America. Click here for the letter of support.

Additionally the Phase III legislation includes funding to support rural communities, including:

  • $20.5 million to enable the Rural Business Cooperative Service to make $1 billion in lending authority available for the Business and Industry loan guarantee program, which provides much-needed financing to business owners that might not be able to qualify for a loan on their own.
  • $100 million for the Reconnect Pilot Program to provide grants for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.
  • $25 million for Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program, which supports rural communities accessing telecommunications-enabled information, audio and video equipment, and related advanced technologies for students, teachers, and medical professionals.

The legislation also provides $80 million to help the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) develop medical countermeasures and vaccines, advance domestic manufacturing for medical products, and monitor medical product supply chains, and $25 billion to meet increased needs for nutrition and food assistance programs.

NDFB Director of Public Policy Pete Hanebutt said, "We're very pleased with the passage of the CARES Act. Senators Hoeven and Cramer have been very sensitive to the special needs of rural North Dakota during this challenging time. The bill addresses many of the concerns of Agriculture across America, and we want to thank the Senators for all their efforts in looking out for rural communities.”