U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) this week celebrated the begin of the distribution of roughly $6.75 million in direct payments introduced final week for Delaware chicken growers who suffered losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last yr, COVID-19 damage tons of of chicken growers throughout the state after processing services had been pressured to drastically scale back or droop manufacturing, he famous. The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program was established to supply help for affected farmers, however this system initially excluded contract producers — barring the overwhelming majority of chicken growers from receiving help.
Coons led a bipartisan effort to incorporate help for contract chicken growers within the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was signed into legislation final yr. Since securing funding for chicken growers, Coons has labored with USDA and Delaware stakeholders to make sure that payments can be calculated pretty and offered to as many eligible growers as attainable.
Following USDA’s announcement on Thursday that roughly $270 million in pandemic help will probably be offered for poultry and livestock contract producers nationwide, a complete of about $6.75 million will probably be distributed amongst 185 Delaware chicken growers. The payments account for contract producers who elevated the dimensions of their operation in 2020 or had been new to farming when the pandemic started. Additional chicken growers had been made eligible for help after USDA allowed for 2018 and 2019 income to be thought-about.
“I want to thank Delaware’s agriculture leaders and USDA’s Farm Service Agency staff, who worked tirelessly to ensure that this program provided flexibility for chicken growers in Delaware and across the country,” stated Coons. “I was proud to lead the effort to secure federal funding for these payments and thrilled that they are now being distributed to Delaware chicken growers who were hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“There were a lot of factors due to the COVID-19 pandemic that created significant reductions in grower pay and hardships for Delaware family farms,” stated Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “Through a bipartisan effort, with the help of Sen. Coons and the Chicken Caucus working with USDA, poultry producers across the country finally can offset some of the money they lost due to COVID. The ability for contract growers to receive payments through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is important not only for Delaware but all of Delmarva to help rebuild our economy.”
“We are incredibly grateful to know that legislators, like our own Sen. Chris Coons, have made it possible for Delaware producers to be among those set to receive this additional funding,” stated Richard Wilkins, president of the Delaware Farm Bureau. “Many of our farmers and ranchers were faced with insurmountable complications set in motion during the COVID pandemic. But we can rest easier knowing this funding will support their efforts at conquering these uncertain times.”
“The Delmarva Chicken Association thanks Sen. Coons for all of his hard work in making sure that our contract chicken growers in Delaware and throughout the Delmarva received some aid to help with the loss of income that many faced in 2020,” stated Holly Porter, government director of the Delmarva Chicken Association. “These farm families are so important in making sure the United States continues to have a safe and abundant food supply.”