In This Issue:

  • Congress Considering Next Coronavirus Relief Package, Including Assistance for Agriculture
  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Payments
  • House Passed FY2021 Agriculture Appropriations Bill
  • Risk Management Agency (RMA) Issues Changes on Prevented Plant Policies
  • NBGA Participated in U.S. Grains Council Virtual Board Meetings
Congress Considering Next Coronavirus Relief Package, Including Assistance for Agriculture

On July 27 th Senate Republicans released their proposed next phase of coronavirus relief measures. House Democrats have previously passed their version back on May 15 th , titled the HEROES Act and the two chambers, along with the White House, will negotiate on the different provisions. The House bill is larger in scope, totaling $3 trillion, while the Republican proposal is approximately $1 trillion. The Republican proposal includes an additional $20 billion for USDA to continue to provide direct assistance to farmers, such as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) that is currently providing payments to certain eligible livestock, dairy, specialty crop, and row crop producers. The House Democrat proposal also includes funding for similar direct assistance to farmers as well as funding to expand acreage enrollment in the Soil Health and Income Protection Program (SHIPP), explicit funding for biofuel producers, and an increase in SNAP benefits. Negotiations on the package are likely to take at least a couple of weeks. 

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) Payments

Meanwhile, the latest updates show that USDA has now paid out $6.55 billion under CFAP. As of July 28 th , USDA data shows approximately $1.9 million has been paid out for malting barley. NBGA has submitted formal comments to USDA seeking changes to enable more support for malting barley producers. The last update from FSA indicated that a final determination on our requests for malting barley had not been made. With one month before the signup deadline, USDA is not close to distributing the full $16 billion initially provided for the program. Initial payments were made on 80% of a producers total payment eligibility and it appears USDA will have sufficient funds to provide the remaining 20% of the first round of CFAP payments. 
House Passed FY2021 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

The House of Representatives passed a package of annual appropriations bills, including the Ag Appropriations bill. The measure includes language supporting barley industry priorities, such as the Small Grain Genomics, Barley Pest Initiative and the Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative. Overall, the bill provides approximately $24 billion for annual discretionary programs and operations, a slight increase over the amount provided in the FY2020 Appropriations bill. This does not include funding provided for coronavirus response and efforts. The Senate has not yet taken action on FY21 Appropriations bills and is unlikely to do so before the end of the current fiscal year, making a Continuing Resolution necessary, possibly to carry past election day in November. 
Risk Management Agency (RMA) Issues Changes on Prevented Plant Policies

On July 24 th RMA provided a notice to NBGA of changes being implemented to Prevented Plant (PP) policies. The changes result from a task force that included Farm Bureau, NFU, N ational Crop Insurance Services, Crop Insurance Professionals Association, Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. The notice on the PP changes can be viewed here.
NBGA Participated in U.S. Grains Council Virtual Board Meeting

NBGA staff, board members and state staff participated in various aspects of the virtual U.S. Grains Council board meeting held July 27-29. The Barley Sector meeting on July 27 th included updates from USGC staff in Japan and Mexico on the current trade dynamics in those countries for food barley, malt barley and beer production. NBGA staff also participated in a forum on sustainability and provided an overview of sustainability assessments and initiatives for barley and barley industry partners. 
National Barley Growers Association
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