Earlier this week, the USDA announced the availability of more than $330 million as part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers program. The funding includes $169.9 million for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, $75 million for Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program grantees and approximately $80 million in payments to domestic users of upland and extra-long staple cotton. The funding will aid in developing new markets for U.S. agricultural products, expand the specialty crop food sector, and the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers. USDA also announced plans for the Dairy Donation Program as established in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
In March, the USDA launched the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative with $6.5 billion in available funding to address shortfalls and disparities in how assistance was distributed in previous COVID-19 assistance packages, with a specific focus on strengthening outreach to underserved producers and communities and small and medium agricultural operations.
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