Ag and Rural Impacts of American Rescue Plan
The recently passed American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, is a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill that is aiming to help everyone impacted by the COVID shutdown, including farmers around the southeast.
In April 2020, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) estimated initial crop losses of US $522.5 million after just a few months into the pandemic. Some quick thinking by producers allowed farmers to pivot and sell directly to consumers while both restaurant and tourist destination demand went down.
Here is Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses aspects of the American Rescue Plan and how this COVID-19 economic relief package can benefit the farm and food sectors.
"To the extent that you improve the ability for families to receive assistance through the Pandemic EBT program, which is helping parents whose children are not yet back in school because schools are still shutdown. They are no incuring expenses for what children might have been consuming as part of a school lunch. so there is a little bit of financial assistant for people in that respect. The WIC program that helps young moms and young children has also been expanded and extended. There is a lot of nutritional assistance in this package. there is also help for restaurants. As we know, food services is incredibly important to the agriculture industry. When we create new restaurants and open new restaurants, obviously that is anew market opportunity for our farmers,s ranchers, and producers. The American Rescue Plan also contains resources as well for rural communities for opportunities to expand broadband."