The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) sent a letter this week to leaders on Capitol Hill thanking them for their efforts in supporting America’s cattle producers through the Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and urging them to continue their work by improving the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane issued the following statement:
“The assistance provided to rural America through the CARES Act represented a critical step toward ensuring U.S. cattle producers remain operationally viable in the short-term during the height of COVID-19. However, as our nation collectively works to rebound from this pandemic, we have a clearer understanding of the challenges that remain for our industry, as well as the long-term solutions needed to facilitate a robust recovery.
While CFAP was a good start, these cattle assistance payments can be improved upon and tailored to provide additional support to those in our industry who have been especially affected by market disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, further measures such as emergency haying and grazing under the Conservation Reserve Program, a fed-cattle set aside pilot program, and the waiving of overtime fees for Federal Meat Inspectors can be utilized by Congress to ensure the beef supply chain is stronger moving forward.”
Discussions are taking place behind the scenes on the next coronavirus aid package to come out of Washington, D.C. That, however, is the good news. The Hagstrom Report says formal negotiations between House and Senate leaders will not take place until July 20th. That note comes from Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley.
“We’re going to try to get things put into place for ethanol and biofuels, as well as more overall help for agriculture,” Grassley says. While there are some Republicans that have questioned the need to spend more money on aid, Grassley says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants to pass another aid package and that it must contain limits on liability due to the coronavirus. Grassley says the reasons to wait-and-see until July 20th include figuring out what the state of the economy looks like by then.