Ohio Valley farmers have received more than $100 million so far in federal relief payments to offset the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with potentially more payments on the way.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Coronavirus Food Assistance program plans to distribute up to $16 billion in direct payments to farmers, with farmers able to apply for relief through August. USDA data released Monday show 220,280 farmers across the country have already received $2,895,127,039 in total.
Kentucky farmers have received $73,460,020, Ohio farmers have received $45,904,465, and West Virginia farmers have received $4,461,751. The Ohio Valley has generated 18,377 applications out of 274,678 applications nationwide so far.
These relief payments follow $616,287,779 in payments Ohio Valley farmers received through a separate federal program, the Market Facilitation Program, to offset economic losses caused by retaliatory tariffs on farm commodities by China and other countries. The Market Facilitation Program received criticism for some farmers receiving substantial payouts — 12 farms in Ohio and Kentucky received at least $500,000 — and for payments going to applicants who weren’t farmers at all.
Even with ongoing federal coronavirus relief payments,, a recent report published by the Food and Agricultural Policy Institute at the University of Missouri showed U.S. farm income could sharply drop by 12 percent next year, due to stagnant demand for commodities including soybeans and corn if more federal relief payments aren’t provided.