USDA Launches Relief Program For Agriculture Industry

The USDA will pay out $16 billion to producers directly and buy $3 billion more in products to distribute it to Americans in need.

USDA Launches Relief Program For Agriculture Industry
Alex Brandon / AP

The USDA announced a new program Friday to help farmers, ranchers and consumers affected by the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump directed the USDA create the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. 

"The program will include direct payments to farmers, as well as mass purchases of dairy, meat and agricultural produce to get that food to the people in need." 

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said the program will provide $16 billion in direct payments to farmers, ranchers and producers who "experience unprecedented losses" during the pandemic. 

"Our farmers have been in the fields, planning and doing what they do every spring to feed the American people, even with a pandemic, as we speak," Perdue said. 

He said the USDA will also buy $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products and distribute it to Americans who need it through food bank networks and other nonprofit organizations.