WASHINGTON, D.C. – The COVID-19 stimulus bill agreed upon today contains language that would authorize USDA to provide up to $1 billion in assistance to contract chicken growers for revenue losses sustained as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This fund is earmarked specifically for contract growers of livestock and poultry to cover up to 80 percent of revenue losses, according to bill language released by Congressional leadership.
“On behalf of the chicken industry and our farm families across the country, I want to personally thank Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) for his leadership and his support in helping to secure this vital funding,” said National Chicken Council (NCC) President Mike Brown. “USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), Congressmen Robert Aderholt (R-AR), Jim Costa (D-CA), Steve Womack (R-AR) and Trent Kelly (R-MS), and the Senate and Congressional Chicken Caucuses were also instrumental in this effort. It would not have been possible without the support of the American Farm Bureau Federation and dozens of state poultry federations who all have worked for many months to make this a reality.”
Contract chicken farmers have been excluded in the previous three federal COVID-19 stimulus packages.
A letter was sent to Senate leadership in July, spearheaded by Senators Coons and Wicker and signed by 17 other senators, requesting direct financial assistance for chicken farmers that have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Congressmen Aderholt and Kelly led a similar letter to Secretary Perdue signed by nearly four dozen House members. NCC on April 10 wrote to Secretary Perdue requesting relief for family farmers due to potential supply chain effects related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, NCC President Mike Brown penned an opinion piece that appeared in Agri-Pulse in May, highlighting the council’s support for including contract broiler farmers in future COVID-19 stimulus bills.
The COVID-19 relief bill also includes language to provide funds to compensate poultry farmers for depopulation efforts taken place during the pandemic.
“This is wonderful holiday news for our farm families who have been working tirelessly through the pandemic to make sure food was one less thing Americans have to worry about as everyone navigated through 2020,” Brown added. “We urge the Senate and the House to pass this bill as soon as possible and send it to President Trump’s desk.”