Oklahoma Farm Report masthead graphic with wheat on the left and cattle on the right.
Howdy Neighbors!
Ron Hays, Director of Farm and Ranch Programming, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network  |  2401 Exchange Ave, Suite F, Oklahoma City, Ok 73108  |  (405) 601-9211

advertisements
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

Agricultural News


USDA Invests $700 million in Relief to Farm and Food Workers Impacted by COVID-19

Tue, 07 Sep 2021 13:47:24 CDT

USDA Invests $700 million in Relief to Farm and Food Workers Impacted by COVID-19 Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that $700 million in competitive grant funding will be available through the new Farm and Food Workers Relief (FFWR) grant program to help farmworkers and meatpacking workers with pandemic-related health and safety costs. The announcement was made in a press call with United Farm Workers Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson-Torres and United Food and Commercial Workers International President Marc Perrone.

Additionally, to recognize the essential role and costs borne by front-line grocery workers, $20 million of this amount has been set aside for at least one pilot program to support grocery workers and test options for reaching them in the future. The new program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and is part of USDA’s Build Back Better efforts to respond and recover from the pandemic.

The program will provide relief to farmworkers, meatpacking workers, and front-line grocery workers for expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family, or living expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), dependent care, and expenses associated with quarantines and testing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This aligns with the Administration’s efforts to revitalize the economy and provide relief to historically underserved communities. The Request for Application (RFA) will be announced in early Fall and will be open for 60 days. Additional information and technical assistance for applying to these grants and program updates will be provided by USDA when the application period opens.

“As we celebrate the social and economic achievements of our nation’s workers on Labor Day, we recognize that our farmworkers, meat packing workers, and grocery workers overcame unprecedented challenges and took on significant personal risk to ensure Americans could feed and sustain their families throughout the pandemic,” Vilsack said. “They deserve recognition for their resilience and financial support for their efforts to meet personal and family needs while continuing to provide essential services. This grant program is another component of this Administration’s efforts to ensure assistance to alleviate the effects of the pandemic is distributed to those who need it most.”

Tellefson-Torres said, “This Labor Day, let us not forget the sacrifices farm workers made as essential workers to keep our food supply intact during the pandemic. And as we honor the contributions of workers across our nation, let’s show gratitude to the men and women who feed America and the world. The UFW Foundation worked tirelessly to advance legislation that would empower USDA to support farm workers throughout this pandemic. We now applaud the Biden-Harris Administration, Secretary Vilsack and USDA for recognizing the vital role of farm workers in the nation’s food security and economy, through this new program. The work is not done until this much-needed pandemic relief reaches farm workers across the nation, and we look forward to working with USDA to that end.”

Perrone said, “America’s meatpacking and grocery workers have been on the frontlines since the pandemic began, risking their health every day to keep our food supply secure during this crisis. This new USDA grant program recognizes the incredible service and sacrifices of our country’s essential food workers by providing the critical financial support they need, said UFCW International President. Meatpacking plants experienced some of the most deadly COVID-19 outbreaks when the pandemic first began and there are few workers more deserving of our thanks and support. Across the country, meatpacking workers have had to use their own money to pay for personal protective equipment to stay safe on the job, shoulder the burden of increased childcare costs, take on expenses from COVID-19 testing and quarantining, and much more. Grocery workers continue to face health risk during this COVID-19 Delta surge and the pilot program announced today is a strong step toward providing them with the assistance they and their families need. As the largest union for America's essential food workers, UFCW applauds the Biden Administration and Secretary Vilsack for investing in these critical programs that will support the brave men and women in meatpacking plants and grocery stores keeping our food supply chain strong as the pandemic continues.”

Funds will be awarded through grants to state agencies, Tribal entities, and non-profit organizations serving farmworkers and meatpacking workers ranging from $5,000,000 to $50,000,000. USDA is setting aside $20 million for at least one pilot to provide targeted support to front-line grocery workers. Eligible entities must demonstrate the capacity to reimburse farmworkers and meatpacking workers for up to $600 for expenses incurred due to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages grant applications that demonstrate trusted communications networks with farmworkers, meatpacking workers, and/or front-line grocery workers, as well as strong financial controls. The grant requires applicants to show connectedness to hard-to-reach worker populations either directly or in partnerships with other local organizations. Applicants should be able to describe how they will partner with smaller organizations to facilitate financial relief to such populations.

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will offer technical assistance through one or more partners and webinars for applicants to help them understand the RFA, once it is published. Additionally, grants management specialists will be available to answer any incoming questions and emails after the details are announced. For more information about upcoming webinars, grant eligibility, and program requirements, visit the FFWR webpage or contact us at ffwr@usda.gov.

Applications must be submitted electronically through www.grants.gov.

USDA will also be soon announcing a separate $700 million suite of pandemic safety and response grants for producers, processors, farmers markets, distributors, and seafood processors and vessels impacted by COVID-19.

Citing lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and recent supply chain disruptions, earlier this month USDA announced plans to invest more than $4 billion to strengthen critical supply chains through USDA’s Build Back Better initiative to strengthen and transform the food system, using funding from the American Rescue Plan and the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The effort will strengthen the food system, create new market opportunities, tackle the climate crisis, help communities that have been left behind, and support good-paying jobs throughout the supply chain. A transformed food system will provide producers with a greater share of the food dollar and make agriculture a more compelling career. It will also improve nutrition and the health status of Americans, reducing the costs of healthcare and diet-related diseases.

Through USDA’s Build Back Better initiative, USDA will help to ensure the food system of the future is fair, competitive, distributed, and resilient; supports health with access to healthy, affordable food; ensures growers and workers receive a greater share of the food dollar; and advances equity as well as climate resilience and mitigation.

   

 

WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI

 


Top Agricultural News

  • AFR Delegates Met Virtually WIth Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe to Talk Cattle Market Issues, Farm Stress and Rural Broadband  Wed, 22 Sep 2021 05:36:29 CDT
  • OMMA's Adria Berry to Ag Groups- I Have No Authority to Stop Accepting Applications for Medical Marijuana Grow Permits  Wed, 22 Sep 2021 05:17:53 CDT
  • Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta Delivers Remarks to the National Farmers Union  Tue, 21 Sep 2021 18:30:02 CDT
  • WestBred Wheat Professional John Fenderson Offers Wheat Planting Best Management Practices  Tue, 21 Sep 2021 17:08:42 CDT
  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021, Market Wrap-Up with Justin Lewis  Tue, 21 Sep 2021 17:08:11 CDT
  • OCA's Michael Kelsey: We Need to Take a Pause on Issuing New Medical Marijuana Grower Permits  Tue, 21 Sep 2021 13:19:35 CDT
  • National Dairy Council Communicates Dairy's Nutrition, Sustainability Story Ahead of UN Summit  Tue, 21 Sep 2021 12:47:33 CDT
  • New Episode of Southern Plains Podcast Covers Current and Future Weather Conditions in Kansas  Tue, 21 Sep 2021 12:26:53 CDT

  • More Headlines...

       

    Ron salutes our daily email sponsors!

    Oklahoma Beef council Oklahoma Ag Credit Oklahoma Farm Bureau National Livestock Credit Ag Mediation Program P&K Equipment Tulsa Farm Show Union Mutual Stillwater Milling Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association KIS FUTURES, INC.

       
       

    Search OklahomaFarmReport.com

    © 2008-2021 Oklahoma Farm Report
    Email Ron   |   Newsletter Signup   |    Current Spots   |    Program Links

    WebReady powered by WireReady® Inc.