USDA is dedicated to reaching a broad set of producers and agricultural businesses through our Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Visit this page frequently for the latest updates on this critical initiative.
Direct Pandemic Assistance for Producers
Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program
The Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) provides pandemic assistance to cover eligible certification and education expenses for agricultural producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic. This includes eligible certification expenses, eligible transitional expenses, educational event registration fees, and soil testing for micronutrient deficiencies.
USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept OTECP applications for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 from November 8, 2021, through January 7, 2022. The application period for fiscal year 2022 applications will be announced at a later date. Visit farmers.gov/otecp to learn more.
Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program
On October 6, 2021, the application period opened for USDA’s Pandemic Response and Safety Grant Program (PRS). PRS, available through USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, provides grants to specialty crop producers and processors, other select producers, meat and other processors, distributors, and farmers markets to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Grants may cover COVID-related expenses such as workplace safety measures, retrofitting facilities for worker and consumer safety, shifting to online sales platforms, transportation, worker housing, and medical costs. The minimum funding request is $1,500 and the maximum funding request is $20,000.
Applications must be submitted electronically through the grant portal at https://usda-prs.grantsolutions.gov/usda by 11:59 p.m. eastern on Monday, November 22, 2021. Eligible entities are required to obtain a free DUNS Number from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) before applying for this program. USDA has created a custom PRS DUNS number portal at https://support.dnb.com/?CUST=PandemicResponse. Application resources, including frequently asked questions, tip sheets in English and Spanish on applying for a DUNS Number, videos on “How to Apply,” and more, are available on the PRS Grant Portal.
Additional Pandemic Assistance for Producers
In March, USDA announced the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative to support a number of new programs or to modify existing efforts, many of which will be implemented in June and July of 2021. These efforts will continue to focus on filling gaps in previous rounds of assistance and helping beginning, socially disadvantaged, and small and medium sized producers that need support most. USDA will provide support for:
- Biofuel producers. USDA will allocate $700 million to support biofuel producers.
- Dairy farmers and processors. USDA will allocate approximately $580 million through Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage for small and medium farms.
- Small hog producers that use the spot market or negotiate prices. USDA has examined the difference between the negotiated prices for hogs and the five-year average and documented a significant drop during April through September of 2020 due to the pandemic. USDA has set aside up to $50 million in pandemic assistance funds to provide additional assistance for small hog producers that use the spot market or negotiate prices. Details on the additional targeted assistance are expected to be available this summer.
Since USDA rolled out the Pandemic Assistance initiative in March, the Department has announced assistance to producers and agriculture entities through the following programs:
- The Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP) provides pandemic assistance to cover eligible certification and education expenses for agricultural producers who are certified organic or transitioning to organic. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will accept OTECP applications for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 from November 8, 2021, through January 7, 2022. Additional information is available at farmers.gov/otecp.
- The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) supports America’s farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers whose operations were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The signup period for CFAP 2 closed on October 12, 2021. Additional information is available at farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance/cfap.
- The Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program (PLIP) provides relief to chicken, turkey, and swine producers who suffered losses during the pandemic due to insufficient access to processing. The signup period for PLIP closed on October 12, 2021. Additional information is available at farmers.gov/plip.
- The Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers program (PATHH) provides financial relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that experienced losses in 2020 due to COVID-19. The signup period for PATHH closed on October 15, 2021. Additional information is available at farmers.gov/pathh.
- The Dairy Donation Program (DDP) allocates $400 million to facilitate dairy product donations and reduce food waste. Under this new program, eligible dairy organizations partner with non-profit feeding organizations that distribute food to individuals and families. Those partnerships may apply for and receive reimbursements to cover some expenses related to eligible dairy product donations. Visit ams.usda.gov/services/ddp for additional information, including how to apply through USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
- Through the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program (PMVAP), USDA will provide more than $350 million in pandemic assistance payments to dairy farmers who received a lower value due to market abnormalities caused by the pandemic and ensuing Federal policies. Payments will reimburse qualified dairy farmers for 80% of the revenue difference per month based on an annual production of up to 5 million pounds of milk marketed and on fluid milk sales from July through December 2020. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will contact eligible handlers and cooperatives to notify them of the opportunity to participate in the program. Visit ams.usda.gov/services/pandemic-market-volatility-assistance-program to learn more.
- The Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program and the Seafood Processors Pandemic Response and Safety (Seafood PRS) Block Grant Program will provide approximately $700 million in assistance to small scale specialty crop producers and processors, shellfish, aquaculture and other select producers, meat and other processors, distributors, farmers markets, seafood facilities, and processing vessels impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for PRS and encourages eligible entities to apply now for funds. Applications must be submitted electronically through the grant portal at usda-prs.grantsolutions.gov/usda by 11:59 p.m. eastern on Monday, November 22, 2021. Access the PRS grant portal at usda-prs.grantsolutions.gov and the SPRS grant forecast here to learn more.
- The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) provided premium support to producers who insured their spring crop with most insurance policies and planted a qualifying cover crop during the 2021 crop year. USDA allocated approximately $20 million to support this program.
- The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) Program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. USDA made an additional $35 million available through the program this year to support agricultural producers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
- The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funds innovative projects designed to support the expanding specialty crop food sector and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. USDA announced $169.9 million total for the program, with funding awarded as part of pandemic assistance supporting organizations to assist farmworkers with PPE and vaccination costs, projects to fund farmers, food businesses, and other relevant entities to respond to risks and supply chain disruption.
- The Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) increases the purchase of fruits and vegetables by low-income consumers. USDA announced $75 million to address critical food and nutrition security needs of low-income communities, enhance the resilience of food and healthcare systems impacted by the pandemic, and maximize funds reaching participants in communities in need.
- The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) offers education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. USDA announced $37.5 million to support this program.
- Through Payments to Domestic Users of Cotton, USDA announced approximately $80 million in additional payments to domestic users of upland and extra-long staple cotton to support textile mills impacted by the pandemic.
- The Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) helps maximize opportunities for economic growth and ingenuity in local and regional food systems, generate new income sources for small, beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers, and create new market opportunities for value-added and niche products. USDA announced $92.2 million in competitive grant funding through this program.
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