Updates

Statement by Katharine Ferguson, USDA Chief of Staff, on the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2021 — “We are pleased to see the introduction of the Emergency Relief for Farmers of Color Act yesterday in the Senate, a bill that will bring much-needed economic assistance during the pandemic and begin to advance equity for farmers of color. The bill is the culmination of hard work and collaboration among members of the Senate and House and new leadership at USDA who share a common purpose to end inequity in our food and agricultural systems.

Keep Foodborne Illness Away from Your Super Bowl End Zone

(Washington, D.C., February 3, 2021) – Score a touchdown this year with your Super Bowl LV snacks by keeping bacteria out of the end zone. While your Super Bowl traditions may look different this year given COVID-19 and the need to maintain social distancing, your plans probably still involve food. Whether you are cooking your favorite munchies from scratch or ordering from a nearby restaurant, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) wants you to remember to follow safe food handling rules.

Biden Administration Halts Residential Evictions in USDA Multifamily Housing Communities in Accordance with CDC Guidance

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2021 — In one of his first acts in office, President Joe Biden requested federal agencies to extend the eviction and foreclosure moratorium for millions of Americans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended the eviction and foreclosure moratorium to affected multifamily housing residents through March 31, 2021.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Announces Heather Dawn Thompson as Director, Office of Tribal Relations

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the appointment of Heather Dawn Thompson as Director of the Office of Tribal Relations (OTR) reporting to the Secretary of Agriculture. Thompson is a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, a Harvard Law School graduate, and an expert in American Indian law, tribal sovereignty, and rural tribal economic development. With Thompson in place, USDA will return OTR directly under the Secretary, restoring the office’s important government-to-government role.

Biden Administration Expands P-EBT to Benefit Millions of Low-Income and Food Insecure Children During Pandemic

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced several efforts today to expand nutrition assistance to hard-hit families across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. In support of President Biden’s call to action on hunger and with authorities provided by Congress, USDA is increasing the Pandemic-EBT benefit by approximately 15%, providing more money for low-income families and millions of children missing meals due to school closures.

Biden Administration Announces Foreclosure Moratorium and Mortgage Forbearance Deadline Extension That Will Bring Relief to Rural Residents

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20, 2021 — In one of his first acts in office, President Joe Biden requested federal agencies to extend eviction and foreclosure moratoriums for millions of Americans. In response, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an extension of eviction and foreclosure moratoriums on USDA Single Family Housing Direct and Guaranteed loans (SFHDLP and SFHGLP) through March 31, 2021. The actions announced today will bring relief to residents in rural America who have housing loans through USDA.

Secretary Perdue Statement on MOU on Animal Biotechnology

(Washington, D.C., January 19, 2021) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (PDF, 141 KB) with the Assistant Secretary for Health and Head of the Public Health Service Admiral Brett Giroir, M.D., establishing a regulatory environment at the Department of Agriculture for agricultural animal biotechnology innovation:

USDA Offers Additional Assistance for Certain Producers Through Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

(Washington, D.C., January 15, 2021) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide additional assistance through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), expanding eligibility for some agricultural producers and commodities as well as updating payments to accurately compensate some producers who already applied for the program. Producers who are now eligible and those who need to modify existing applications due to these updates can contact USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) between Jan. 19 and Feb. 26.