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Government Shutdown Avoided

Hours before their midnight deadline on September 30, Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 3. The Senate passed the measure on a vote of 65 to 35. The House passed it on a vote of 254 to 175. President Joe Biden has also signed the stopgap funding bill.

Pandemic Assistance for Producers Plan Unveiled

After reviewing existing COVID-19 relief, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take a new approach for distributing additional assistance to farmers and ranchers. This new initiative is called the Pandemic Assistance for Producers.
 
It includes:
1.) $6 million to expand assistance to more producers, with an emphasis on small farmers and ranches, dairy, specialty crops, euthanized livestock and poultry, renewable fuels and more.
2.) Adds $500 million to existing programs.
3.) Carries out formula payments for existing Coronavirus Food Assistance Programs.
 
USDA will also reopen CFAP 2 sign-up for 60 days starting on April 5. Get the full details.

Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bills

House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees are working on fiscal year 2021 funding bills. Highlights from the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill include: 
  • $3.3 billion for agricultural research programs, with $1.51 billion for the Agricultural Research Service and $1.54 billion for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
  • $1.06 billion for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and $1.07 billion for the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
  • $1.43 billion for the Farm Service Agency, which is an increase of $20 million over FY20 enacted levels.
  • $832 million for Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • $400 million for the ReConnect Broadband Pilot Program. The House-passed FY21 funding bill included $990 million for the ReConnect Program.
While the new fiscal year began on October 1, a continuing resolution has kept the government funded since that time. The current continuing resolution is set to expire on December 11.