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US Senate pushes HEALS Act--More farm AID

WASHINGTON: The Senate has legislation that includes additional coronavirus relief-funding for the Department of Agriculture

This past week the Senate introduced the Health Economic Assistance Liability Protection and Schools Act, or HEALS Act, that adds an additional $20 billion in relief for Ag. 

Andrew Walmsley, of the Farm Bureau, says the funding will help Agriculture in Idaho and across the nation.

There’s not a lot of direction to USDA, which could be seen as good as making sure that the agency can be nimble in responding. But it also expands to include other sectors of the industry that have been left out of earlier versions. So, the money is obviously going to be helpful as we go into the fall,” said Walmsley.

AFBF estimates farm production losses due to the pandemic are nearly $50 billion. This will help struggling farmers.

When you combine the HEALS Act and the funding in the CARES Act, you’re looking at about $34 billion. So, if you include the $16 billion in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program,  you’re getting close to $50 billion, which has been in line with the request Farm Bureau has made to Congress to ensure that our farmers and ranchers can get through this crisis,” said Walmsley. 

Walmsley encourages farmers and ranchers to visit to show their support for the agriculture aid included in the HEALS Act.

This is far from being done. The negotiations are still ongoing between the House and Senate. But it’s important for farmers and ranchers to let Congress know how important this aid is, particularly the $20 billion that can be utilized to help producers continue to farm into another season,” said Walmsley.