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Ag Not Included in New Stimulus Package

The new $2 trillion coronavirus package does not include any significant assistance for agriculture. There is one provision to provide assistance to minority farms, focused primarily on Black, Hispanic and Native American colleges and universities.

An Exception for H-2A and B Workers with Visas

President Joe Biden’s has issued an Executive Order banning travel from South Africa. Despite this COVID travel ban, the State Department is making an exception for South African workers with H-2A and H-2B visas. This applies to food and agriculture workers. Approximately 5,000 H-2A workers are from South Africa.

Supplemental CFAP Payments Paused

USDA has suspended $2.3 billion in supplemental Coronavirus Food Assistance (CFAP) payments to farmers. Most of the money is going to contract hog and poultry growers and others who were left out of earlier programs. The Biden Administration put these payments on hold while it reviews the regulations taken during the final days of the Trump Administration. The Farm Service Agency will continue to accept applications during the review process.

Biden Issues Climate Change Executive Order

President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order on climate change. This order outlines three areas of focus for agriculture. First, it sets a goal of conserving 30 percent of lands and oceans by 2030 while launching a process for stakeholder engagement for agriculture. It also establishes a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative and directs the agriculture secretary to get input from farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders on how to encourage the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices.