The House of Representatives passed a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package that Democrats say is an update to the previous $3.4 billion bill that passed in May. The vote was 214 to 207, with 18 Democrats joining all the Republicans who voted against it. The legislation includes aid to ethanol plants, livestock producers who had to euthanize animals because of no slaughterhouse capacity, as well as a 15% increase in SNAP benefits. The package incorporates many provisions that the National Farmers Union members requested during the recent virtual fly-in, including support for local and regional meat processing, farm-stress programs, as well as the nutrition assistance.

NFU President Rob Larew is urging the Senate to quickly move forward with the final passage. “Throughout the pandemic, Congress and the USDA have worked to provide family farmers and ranchers with the help they need,” Larew said. “These efforts have gone a long way toward keeping farmers afloat during market uncertainty and supply chain disruptions.”

However, the NFU points out that the strength of the ag economy depends on the strength of the overall economy and the wellbeing of Americans, so they’re pushing for another economic stimulus package. “The time is now for the Senate and White House to agree on a stimulus package,” Larew adds.

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