WASHINGTON – After Congressional leaders agreed to the terms of a $908 billion COVID-19 stimulus bill just hours earlier, the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of its passage on Dec. 21. Contract chicken and livestock growers in the United States were among those to receive aid as part of the relief, which targeted small businesses, Americans who are unemployed and health care workers.

As part of the plan, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) was given authorization to distribute up to $1 billion to poultry and livestock producers who suffered financially as a result of the pandemic. The aid would cover up to 80% of revenue losses to this segment of the food supply chain.

Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council (NCC), expressed his appreciation to the legislators supporting the bill. The NCC pointed out that in the three previous federal stimulus packages since the onset of the pandemic, contract chicken growers were not provided relief. Included in the bill is verbiage to provide funds to offset costs to poultry farmers who were forced to depopulate flocks during the pandemic.

“On behalf of the chicken industry and our farm families across the country, I want to personally thank Senator Chris Coons for his leadership and his support in helping to secure this vital funding,” Brown said. “USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Senator Roger Wicker, Congressmen Robert Aderholt, Jim Costa, Steve Womack and Trent Kelly and the Senate and Congressional Chicken Caucuses were also instrumental in this effort. It would not have been possible without the support of the American Farm Bureau Federation and dozens of state poultry federations who all have worked for many months to make this a reality.”

After passage by the House and Senate, the bill was to be sent for approval by President Donald Trump.

“This is wonderful holiday news for our farm families who have been working tirelessly through the pandemic to make sure food was one less thing Americans have to worry about as everyone navigated through 2020,” Brown said.