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Farm aid applications to open after Memorial Day

Agriculture Secretary Sony Perdue has reminded farmers to start applying for $16 billion in agricultural aid on May 26.

Speaking during a recent virtual “rural town hall” Perdue said checks will start flowing to producers seven to 10 days later.

The $16 billion will be distributed in direct payments to farms and ranches across the U.S. that have been hard-hit by plunging prices and losses caused by COVID-19 shutdowns.

“This aid can’t arrive soon enough as many farmers file for bankruptcy, facing unprecedented losses,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said in a recent statement.

The package, called the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, is part of the $2 trillion Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act that Congress passed in March.

An additional $3 billion is going to directly buy farm goods from distributors in a USDA food box program that started this week.

The application window will remain open through August, but Perdue said he anticipates most producers will apply much sooner.

The department confirmed it will publish details of the final $16 billion payment package any day now.

“You remind us once again that the American farmer is the backbone of our country,” said President Donald Trump during a meeting earlier this month at the White House, surrounded by farmers and industry leaders.

The upcoming aid package will be distributed among livestock industries, row crop growers, specialty crop growers and other sectors, but the USDA has not yet confirmed final numbers.

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