American Rescue Plan has $ 4 billion for food distribution, aid to producers


President Biden enacted a law The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, or ARP for short, on March 11 after a party vote in the US Senate and no Republican support to go along with two Democratic “no” votes in the US House. The law provides US citizens with financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many people are familiar with the third set of stimulus checks stemming from the legislation, but the ARP understands additional provisions for economic aid, including emergency funding for states, homeowner aid, and small business credit.

In light of the partisan vote for the law, we noted that one of the leaders of the Iowa Democratic Party, the state Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls, promoted the law by writing in one of his weekly newsletters:

“The US Federal Rescue Plan will buy more food from farmers for distribution through food banks, nonprofits, and restaurants, helping feed families in need and supporting farmer bottom lines.

In an email exchange with The daily Iowan, Wahls referred to a US Department of Agriculture March 10 fact sheet as the main source of his complaint, which corresponded almost word for word to his newsletter. But does that mean more money is spent on farmers?

The answer is yes, even though the money allocated in this program also goes to non-farmers.

Chris Nelson, director of performance for the US Department of Agriculture, said in a telephone interview with the DI that $ 4 billion is added to the USDA budget for spending in 2021 and years to come. Sub-section A of the PRA Chapter 1001 states that $ 4 billion will be earmarked for USDA to fund the agricultural relief effort of the legislation.

However, Nelson said the USDA has yet to determine where, precisely, to spend the $ 4 billion.

Nelson said the USDA annually publishes a budget report for the following year. He said the fiscal year 2022 budget, which would normally have been released two months ago, has been delayed due to the presidential transition and will not be released until May or June.

the USDA Budget Summary for Fiscal Year 2021, published in February 2020 does not include the $ 4 billion ARP.

As for the legislation’s farm relief effort, the $ 4 billion is to be used to purchase fresh food and distribute it to nonprofits, food banks and restaurants, according to Chapter 1001. The same section also states that the $ 4 billion is intended to fund loans and grants for food processors, distributors and producers as additional aid in response to the pandemic.

Andrew Wheeler, the Iowa Farm Bureau’s media contact, said efforts to buy fresh produce directly from farmers tend to occur over an extended period of time due to the need to wait until the end of the growing season.

Our decision

How the US bailout is to be spent remains to be determined. But, while the law doesn’t specifically call farmers by name, it explicitly orders a new USDA $ 4 billion credit to purchase fresh food for nonprofits, food banks, and restaurants, as well. that additional relief for non-farmers in the food supply chain.

We assess this statement as true.

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