This article is taken from NGFA's Feb. 24 newsletter.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) published an agricultural policy review report for 2021, detailing new programs and policies implemented by the agency during that year. The report is the inaugural edition in a planned series examining annual developments in U.S. agricultural policies.
“U.S. agricultural policy developments in 2021 largely focused on addressing impacts on the sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic and extreme weather events. Several new initiatives also aimed at addressing the impacts of climate change and supporting improved equity in access to farm programs and outreach to underserved communities,” the authors noted.
Some of the policy changes outlined in the report include:
• The Pandemic Assistance for Producers program, including a new Quality Loss Adjustment program, as well as the commitment of $10 billion in assistance for disaster-related production losses incurred in 2020 and 2021;
• changes in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) focused on the adoption of climate-smart agriculture;
• the release of the USDA Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience;
• the announcement of the new Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Program;
• higher benefit levels for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP);
• $500 million invested in expanding capacity in the meat and poultry processing industry; and
• the Agricultural Marketing Service’s new Dealer Statutory Trust to Protect Livestock Sellers.