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Nebraska has funds for livestock producers

Relief for livestock producers in Nebraska due to COVID-19 losses is on its way.

On Wednesday, May 27, Governor Pete Ricketts declared that small grants will be available for livestock producers through the CARES act passed by Congress earlier this year.

Nebraska Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) will be available for beef, pork, poultry, dairy and sheep/goat producers with between one and ten employees “that have closed or sustained a loss of revenue or employment since March 13, 2020,” according to the website.

Each producer is eligible for $12,000.

It can help stop the bleeding that has come from processing plant closures and extreme market deterioration in a way that is needed, said Jessica Herrmann, vice-president of government affairs for the Nebraska Cattlemen.

“A lot of the smaller producers fell in the gap,” she said. “I think the intent of this was to help the smaller producers who weren’t able to access the PPP (Payment Protection Program) funding or the Economic Injury Disaster Loans. That’s who (Governor Ricketts) is aiming to help and that’s who needs the help.”

The grant can be used as working capital to pay for operating expenses, with the purpose of helping the producer maintain or bounce back during the period of economic downturn.

Herrmann said signup for the grant, which will not be required to be repaid, begins June 15. Not all of the regulations have been issued for CRF yet, she said, but will be. “We’re still trying to unpack this,” she said, “as everyone else is. We had no idea the governor was going to do this, so we were pleasantly surprised.”

The federal government has given each state monies to be used to rebound from the COVID-19 crisis, to be used, with some restrictions, at the state’s discretion. Nebraska received $1.25 billion, with Ricketts setting aside $100 million for livestock producers with the CRF program.

Herrmann said similar livestock stabilization programs are underway in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Most livestock producers in Nebraska will be eligible, Herrmann thought. “I think a good majority of our cow/calf operations will qualify for this.

“We’re thankful to the governor for doing this. It was needed. There is a huge, huge need.”

More information and the application can be found at https://getnebraskagrowing.nebraska.gov/?page_id=82


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