Yesterday, USDA Secretary Vilsack announced $4 billion to ag producers and businesses in Round II of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative. As part of the $4 billion, $700 million will be targeted for Pandemic Response and Safety Grants for PPE and other protective measures to help specialty crop growers, meat packers and processors, and seafood industry workers, among others. This funding was part of the America Rescue Plan Act passed in March by Congress. The American Rescue Plan Act included $4 billion to respond to COVID-19 disruptions in the food supply chain. Implementation and additional details about this program will be available within 60 days.
United Fresh’s Robert Guenther, senior vice president of public policy, offered the following statement:
“We are encouraged by USDA’s efforts to roll out these new grant programs and look forward to learning more details on how these resources will be allocated across the industry. The funding will be used to assist front-line workers in the food supply chain and to ensure that American consumers, and those around the world, will have uninterrupted access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Since March of last year, the industry has invested billions to enhance employee safety as schools, restaurants, hotels and the like reopen across the country. This vital assistance will help businesses transition back to normal and support businesses that are essential to our economy and our way of life.”