U.S. Federal Agricultural Relief after Coronavirus (Covid-19)
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U.S. Federal Agricultural Relief after Coronavirus (Covid-19)

By: Carlos Rodriguez-Vidal, Esq.

April 21, 2020

The U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spend $16 billion on direct payments to farmers, ranchers and producers “who experience unprecedented losses” during the coronavirus pandemic, Secretary Sonny Perdue said at a White House press briefing on Friday, April 17, 2020.

The USDA also plans to purchase $3 billion worth of fresh produce, dairy and meat products to distribute to “Americans in need, food banks networks, as well as other community and faith-based organizations,”

“Based on industry estimates of damage, Mr. President, it is becoming apparent that we’ll need the additional (USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation) funds as we continue to track the economic losses,” Perdue said on Friday, after President Trump mentioned the agency would receive $14 billion in July.

The CCC is used to supplement U.S. domestic farm income and support Congress-approved programs.

The compromise bill would provide $9.5 billion for the USDA to address the economic effects of a COVID-19 downturn on sectors of agriculture ranging from livestock producers dealing with volatile markets to farmers who are losing business as states and localities close farmers markets and restaurants.

The CCC had announced earlier this month the interest rates for April 2020, which are effective April 1-April 30, 2020. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for April is 0.625 percent, down from 1.500 percent in March.

The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during April is 1.625 percent, down from 2.500 in March. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for April are as follows:

0.750 percent with three-year loan terms, down from 1.375 percent in March.

0.750 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 1.375 percent in March.

1.000 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 1.500 percent in March.

1.000 percent with 10-year loan terms down from 1.625 percent in March, and

1.125 percent with 12-year loan terms, down from 1.625 percent in March.

The interest rate for 15-year Sugar Storage Facility Loans for April is 1.250 percent, down from 1.750 percent in March.

The CCC is a wholly owned U.S. Government corporation created in 1933 under a Delaware charter and reincorporated June 30, 1948, as a Federal corporation within the Department of Agriculture by the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act. CCC assists in stabilizing, supporting, and protecting farm income and prices, helps to maintain balanced and adequate supplies of agricultural commodities, helps in the orderly distribution of these commodities, and assists in the conservation of soil and water resources. The activities of the Corporation are carried out mainly by the personnel and through the facilities of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the FSA State and county committees. There are 50 State offices, an “insular area office” in Puerto Rico, and many U.S. county offices.

Our attorneys are closely monitoring these developments as they occur and will make regular updates to our resource center. If you have any questions about the federal government programs available, or the implications and disruptions of COVID-19 on your business, please reach out to us. (note that during this emergency, it will be easier for you to communicate with us through electronic mail, as provided below):

Carlos A. Rodríguez Vidal [email protected] 787.759.4117
Francisco J. Dox-Millán [email protected] 787.759.4220
Alicia Lamboy-Mombille [email protected] 787.759.4144
Gretchen M. Méndez-Vilella [email protected] 787.759.4207
Arnaldo Villamil [email protected] 787.759.4148

Disclaimer: Although the information included in this document may concern legal issues, it is not a legal opinion or professional advice and clients shall not use it as such. We assume no responsibility or liability of any kind for any information contained herein, and we expressly disclaim all liability for any claim for damages arising from the use, reference to, or reliance on, such information. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.