USDA urged to expedite COVID-19 relief for poultry growers
On June 4, 59 members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture requesting that a rulemaking process to administer direct payments to contract chicken growers be completed as quickly as possible.
Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Reps. Austin Scott (R-8th District), Buddy Carter (R-1st District), Andrew Clyde (R-9th District), Drew Ferguson (R-3rd District) and Rick Allen (R-12th District) signed onto the letter.
The congressmen emphasized that contract growers who raise chickens for poultry processing companies have not yet received federal assistance during the pandemic. Many contract chicken growers suffered substantial losses when processing facilities were forced to reduce or suspend production during the pandemic threatening many smaller and family-owned farms.
As a result, the congressmen wrote, COVID-19 has severely affected the bottom lines of many chicken growers in their home states. On Dec. 21, 2020, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which included additional resources for USDA to continue supporting American farmers. The bill also included funding for USDA to provide direct payments for contract chicken growers who previously had been excluded from assistance provided by the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
“As the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continues to assist farmers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), we respectfully request that the Department expedite the rulemaking process to administer direct payments to contract chicken growers,” the members of Congress requested.
Georgia poultry production was worth approximately $4 billion in 2019, according to the University of Georgia Center of Agribusiness & Economic Development.