AFBF economist gives USDA’s coronavirus relief program positive marks

Ag economists, like John Newton of American Farm Bureau, have been poring over details of USDA’s coronavirus relief program.

Newton says, considering the short timeline, USDA did a pretty good job.

“Given that we wanted this assistance to roll our as quick as possible, USDA had to make some decisions—and they’ve got a pretty thorough cost-benefit analysis on how they made those decisions,” Newton says.

He says some commodities were left out.

“Poultry folks are left behind. Some of the fruits and vegetables—apple growers, for example—aren’t included here. The ethanol industry needs support and more aid for the cattle industry. So we know that there’s more work to do.”

Newton says Farm Bureau will continue to push for more aid from Congress—and he says USDA will have more funds to work with this summer.

“The Secretary also has 14 billion dollars in CCC money coming later in the year that they can craft some additional packages using that money,” he says.

Newton says his numbers show cattle producers will receive 4.4 billion dollars from the current program, the most of any commodity group, followed by dairy at nearly three billion, non-specialty crops at just over three billion and specialty crops at two billion. Hog producers will also receive assistance, with estimates running around two billion dollars.

Link to AFBF’s review of the relief program

AUDIO: John Newton

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