Trump announces $19 billion bailout for farmers & ranchers
Last week, President Donald Trump announced a $19 billion bailout package for farmers that are affected by the coronavirus crisis. $3 billion will be directed towards purchases of meat, dairy and other foods, and the other $16 billion as direct payments to farmers to boost their incomes. The Agriculture Department will receive another $14 billion in July for further financial support.
Nine-point-six billion is set aside for the livestock industry, with five-point-one billion to cattle producers, two-point-nine billion to the dairy industry, one-point-six billion to pork, three-point nine billion to row crop producers, two-point-one billion to specialty crops, and five hundred million for other crops.
Smithfield Food Inc (a pork plant) in Sioux Falls closed their doors indefinately after becoming the largest coronavirus hotspot in the country. It was reported that 598 of the 1,311 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state were plant workers from Smithfield Foods.
According to Smithfield employees, their union representatives, and advocates for the immigrant community in Sioux Falls, the outbreak that led to the plant closure was avoidable. They allege early requests for personal protective equipment were ignored, that sick workers were incentivised to continue working, and that information regarding the spread of the virus was kept from them, even when they were at risk of exposing family and the broader public.
The department aims to begin sending payments to farmers by the end of May.