(NAFB) – The USDA has begun issuing roughly $270 million in pandemic assistance payments to eligible contract producers of livestock and poultry who applied for help.

Earlier this year, the Farm Service Agency identified gaps in assistance. USDA then released an improved program for contract producers to help fill those gaps.

“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’ve delivered,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux.

“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.”

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provided funding for payments to contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry for revenue losses from January 1, 2020, through December 27 of this year. Contract producers of broilers, pullets, chicken eggs, turkeys, and many other types of livestock and poultry were eligible.