In This Issue:

  • Coronavirus Assistance Stimulus Bill
  • Ag Labor/H-2A System
  • Trucking Update
  • Crop Insurance Update
  • 2020 Prospective Planting Intentions Report
  • Anheuser-Busch Produces Hand Sanitizer
Coronavirus Assistance/Stimulus Bill Provides Funding for Agriculture, USDA, Commodity Credit Corporation, and Food Programs

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides $9.5 billion in emergency COVID-19 response funding to support agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including producers of specialty crops, producers that supply local food systems, and livestock producers. The bill includes language that replenishes the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) borrowing authority by $14 billion. USDA will receive approximately $425 million in supplemental funding to cover additional costs for offices and functions including: APHIS, AMS, Food Safety Inspection Service, FSA, Rural Development, Rural Business Cooperative Service Loans, Rural Broadband, Rural Distance Learning and Telemedicine. An additional $15.5 billion was provided for SNAP, $8.8 billion for Child Nutrition Programs, and $450 million for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, which USDA uses to purchase commodities and food for distribution through food banks and community partners.

Ag Labor/H-2A System

USDA announced that the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security have agreed to waive in-person interview requirements for H-2A and H-2B visa applicants. The temporary change is intended to streamline the application process and help maintain a steady labor force for the agriculture sector. U.S. embassies and consulates in Mexico closed effective March 18 because of the pandemic raising concerns that employers and migrant farm workers would not be able to get their visas processed.

USDA and the Department of Labor also announced efforts to identify nearly 20,000 H-2A and H-2B certified positions that have expiring contracts in the coming weeks who could be available to transfer to a different employer's labor certification. The data, available on, includes the number of certified worker positions, the current employer name and contact, attorney/agent name and contact, and the worksite address. This information will be a resource to H-2A employers whose workforce has been delayed because of travel restrictions or visa processing limitations. Employers are encouraged to monitor for the latest information and should monitor the relevant Embassy/Consular websites for specific operational information.

Trucking Update

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an emergency declaration that extends and expands the waiver for trucking hours and service rules and regulations, including specifically those hauling feed and fertilizer. In addition, because many Department of Motor Vehicle offices are closed, FMCSA has waived certain requirements relating to Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL). The office closures prevent CDL holders from renewing licenses or getting necessary appointments for required physical examinations, etc.

Crop Insurance Update

RMA-USDA has announced additional flexibility on crop insurance deadlines in response to COVID-19, including (1) enabling producers to send notifications and reports electronically, (2) extending the date for production reports; and (3) providing additional time and deferring interest on premium and other payments.

See the following resources for more information.

2020 Prospective Planting Intentions Report

NASS released its 2020 Prospective Planting Intentions report on March 31. U.S. Producers intend to plant 2.72 million acres of barley in 2020, up 200,000 acres or 7.4% from 2019. Acreage in the NBGA member states are predicted to be up 171,000 collectively, to 2.54 million acres.

Anheuser-Busch Produces Hand Sanitizer

Anheuser-Busch is using their supply and logistics network to begin producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to accommodate the growing needs across the United States.
Upcoming Industry Events

April 2020:

May 2020:

June 2020: Idaho Barley Commission Annual Budget Meeting, Soda Springs, ID
6/11-6/12; NBGA Summer Meeting, St. Louis, MO 6/15-6/18

July 2020: International Barley Genetics Symposium, Riga, Latvia, 7/5-7/9

August 2020: MBAA and ASBC World Brewing Congress, Minneapolis, MN 8/1-8/4

September 2020: Great American Beer Festival, Denver, CO 9/24-9/26

National Barley Growers Association
(202) 548-0734
Connect With Us: