USDA on Thursday announced it has begun issuing approximately $270 million in payments to contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry who applied for pandemic assistance.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provided up to $1 billion in funding for payments to contract producers of broilers, pullets, chicken eggs, turkeys, hogs, pigs, ducks, geese, pheasants, and quail for revenue losses from January 1, 2020 through December 27, 2020, the date the bill was signed into law. Signup for the program ran from August 24, 2021 through October 12, 2021.

In total, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) provided more than $18.8 billion to producers whose operations were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The CFAP program in the early days of the pandemic only compensated price-loss or cash-settled transactions, primarily in the beef and pork industries.

“We listened to feedback from producers and stakeholders about impacts across livestock and poultry operations and made updates to be more equitable in the assistance we delivered,” Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said. “For contract producers this meant expanding eligibility and providing flexibility such as considering 2018 or 2019 revenue when calculating payments and accounting for contract producers who increased the size of their operation in 2020 or were new to farming when the pandemic hit. Filling these gaps and not letting underserved producers slip through the cracks is a common theme throughout our approach under our Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.”