Coronavirus: USDA to provide $700M in COVID-19 aid to farm, food workers

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday announced $700 million in grants to help farm and food workers recoup some costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The program will provide relief to farmworkers, meatpacking workers, and front-line grocery workers for expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the USDA stated in its announcement. “This relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family, or living expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), dependent care, and expenses associated with quarantines and testing related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to the agency, payments of up to $600 will be distributed to farmworkers and meatpacking workers as part of the grant program.

The funds will be disbursed in amounts ranging from $5 million to $50 million via grants provided to state governments, tribal entities and nonprofit organizations, The Hill reported.

An additional $20 million has been set aside for grocery workers as part of a pilot program, the USDA stated.

“They deserve recognition for their resilience and financial support for their efforts to meet personal and family needs while continuing to provide essential services,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated.

Tuesday’s announcement comes just one day after coronavirus-related federal aid expired for more than 7 million unemployed Americans, The Hill reported.

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