House passes COVID relief bill

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion COVID-relief bill with numerous provisions sought by the National Pork Producers Council including:

1) Compensation for hog farmers who are forced to euthanize or donate market-ready animals that can’t be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions;

2) $300 million to support animal health surveillance and laboratory capacity;

3) Amendment of the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding; and

4) $350 million to address the Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) program user fees funding shortfall that pay for U.S. agriculture inspectors at our borders and ports.

NPPC appreciates inclusion of these provisions, designed to help hog farmers weather this crisis. In particular, NPPC is grateful to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) for his continued efforts to ensure hog farmers receive much-needed assistance during this unprecedented crisis. While the bill has passed the House, its chances in the Senate remain uncertain. On a positive note, at presstime House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continue to negotiate, with the White House expressing optimism that a deal can be reached.

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