USDA Announces ERP Phase II and Investment in Rural Communities
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Phase II of the Emergency Relief Program. Vilsack said additional flexibility will be granted. “For those who received a decrease of income and revenue in 2020 and 2021, we’re giving them an option of choosing either 2018 or 2019 as the year to benchmark the extent of loss; we will be publishing a tool making it easier for individuals to determine the extent of relief under this Phase II program of the Emergency Relief Program.” A new pandemic assistance revenue program was also announced for those who experienced a 15 percent or greater decrease in gross revenue in 2020 compared to 2018 or 2019. More than $12 million is also being invested to expand independent meat and poultry processing capacity. In addition to the 22 projects that were funded recently, Vilsack announced three more projects, including one from northwest Minnesota. “We’re going to provide resources to Benson+Turner, which is a new hog and beef processing facility in (Waubun) Minnesota that is associated with the White Earth Indian Reservation to provide new opportunities.” Vilsack also announced 21 potential projects that will soon be open for public comment in the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. The projects announced included Northstar Lime of Crookston. This project, which is subject to public comment, will create biochar from biomass.