Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has allocated approximately $100 million of federal CARES Act relief funds for a range of agricultural programs to offset the impact of COVID-19 on farmers, producers and agricultural industries.
"Iowa is at the foundation of our global food supply chain and the epicenter of the renewable fuels industry," says Reynolds. "COVID-19 and a devastating derecho dealt a major blow to everything from the demand for ethanol to the supply of meat on grocery store shelves. But just as important are the livelihoods of thousands of Iowa farm families, agricultural industries and the communities they support. Today's investment reflects the critical role Iowa's ag industry has in our state's overall economic recovery."
"Iowa exported more than $16 billion in manufactured goods and agricultural products to 199 countries last year alone," says Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham. "The critical assistance Gov. Reynolds announced today will support the continuation of Iowa's long-standing legacy of agricultural excellence in our communities and throughout the world."
"This has been a tough year for the agriculture community. I'm grateful that Gov. Reynolds has been a strong advocate for the farmers and agribusinesses in our state," says Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. "The programs funded by the CARES Act will help our farmers, renewable fuels retailers and producers, and small meat processors respond to market disruptions and continue on the road to recovery."
The allocations are as follows:
- $60 million to Iowa Livestock Producer Relief Fund: Using the Iowa Economic Development Authority's existing small business relief program infrastructure, this program will provide grants of up to $10,000 to eligible producers of pork, beef, chicken, turkeys, dairy, fish or sheep to serve as working capital to stabilize livestock producers. (Administered by IEDA)
- $15.5 million to State Biofuel Grant Program: Biofuels producers were excluded from receiving aid under other parts of the CARES Act; this program will provide relief to those Iowa ethanol and biodiesel producers based on gallons produced. Grants will also be awarded through IEDA's existing small business relief program and are capped at a maximum grant of $750,000 per producer. (Administered by IEDA)
- $7 million to Renewable Fuel Retail Recovery Program: Announced previously, this funding supports a program that helps expand retail fueling infrastructure for higher blend renewable fuels, including E15 or higher & B11 or higher. (Administered by IDALS)
- $6 million to Iowa Beginning Farmer Debt Relief Fund: COVID-19 has negatively and disproportionately impacted a large number of beginning farmers in Iowa, creating the potential for longer-term generational damage to Iowa agriculture. This program will provide eligible beginning farmers with a long-term debt service payment of up to $10,000, to be paid directly to their lender. (Administered by IEDA)
- $2 million to Meat Processing Development and Expansion Program: Designed to aid small meat processors, this program is focused on expanding processing capacity across the state to meet protein demand. (Administered by IDALS)
- $500,000 to Farm Produce and Protein Program: This innovative program is designed to help specialty ag producers in Iowa as well as the schools that purchase them. In addition to supporting local growers of fruits and vegetables to expand their capacity, it provides grants to schools that buy produce and other local crops and protein sources. (Administered by IDALS)
- Up to $9 million to Iowa Disposal Assistance Program: The disruption to the meat supply chain due to COVID-19 forced producers to euthanize and dispose of livestock due to lack of market access. This program, announced initially in May, provided direct payments to producers to recoup those expenses. (Administered by IDALS)