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Vilsack announces COVID grants for farm, meat and grocery workers

The USDA has launched a COVID-19 relief program for farm workers, meat packing workers and frontline grocery employees.

Ag Secretary Vilsack says 700-Million dollars in competitive grant funds through the Farm and Food Workers Relief (FFWR) program will be awarded to state agencies, Tribal entities and non-profit organizations ranging from five-million dollars to 50-million.

Vilsack says the goal is to award up to 600-dollars to workers who not only risked their health to provide food during the pandemic but had financial losses if they or a family member got sick with COVID.

“Many of these workers, out of their own pocket, have had to pay for masks or personal protective equipment during the course of this pandemic. Some have had to take unpaid medical leave whether it was to get vaccinated, whether it was to quarantine after coming in contact with somebody who had the virus.”

Mark Perrone, International president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union says they’ll be contacting Congressional leaders soon to urge them to add to this new program.

“Now more than ever, our country must support the brave men and women in meatpacking, grocery stores, as well as our farmworkers to help keep our food supply chain strong as this pandemic continues into the future. So, thank you, Mr. Secretary.”

Vilsack says the bulk of the 700-Million is for farmworkers and meatpacking workers. He says USDA will SOON announce a separate $700 Million dollars of pandemic safety and response grants for producers, processors and other related workers impacted by COVID-19.

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