FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2020
Contact: Hannah Packman, 303-819-8737
WASHINGTON – After months of negotiations, Congress today passed a $900 billion pandemic relief bill.
As the pandemic has worn on over the last several months, National Farmers Union (NFU) has repeatedly urged legislators to provide American families and businesses with the help they need to withstand the current economic downturn. The final agreement includes a number of provisions the organization recommended, including supplementary funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, the expansion of benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), support for the development of local and regional food systems, funding to bolster mental health services for agricultural professionals, and protections for workers.
In a statement, NFU President Rob Larew welcomed the long-overdue package and urged the next administration to follow up with additional aid in the months ahead.
“American families and independent businesses have been living on the financial edge for months, waiting for the government to step in and offer the assistance they need to get by. In the meantime, Congressional deadlock has had real and painful consequences; without a lifeline, tens of thousands of businesses have closed permanently, and millions of men, women, and children are experiencing food insecurity.
“The fact that a stimulus package has, at long last, been passed is certainly a relief, and it will ease the burden that so many of our friends and neighbors have been bearing on their own. National Farmers Union is particularly encouraged by the expansion of SNAP benefits – a crucial step toward ensuring food security for all. It is similarly heartening to see the inclusion of provisions that will revitalize rural economies, such as financial support for the biofuels industry, further assistance for farmers impacted by market disruptions, and more funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. Finally, we are pleased by several measures that will strengthen local and regional food systems, help socially disadvantaged farmers, and protect food chain workers – all of which will make the agriculture sector more resilient not just through the end of the pandemic, but long after.
“That said, this bill is a starting point – not a destination. We have a long road to recovery ahead of us, and a $600 check only goes so far. The Biden administration must build on these efforts and offer additional relief as needed.”
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.