USDA announces grant for pandemic costs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a new grant program to help farmworkers, meatpacking workers and front-line grocery workers with pandemic-related health and safety costs, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said.

The $700 million in competitive grant funding will be available through the Farm and Food Workers Relief (FFWR) grant program. Additionally, $20 million of the funding is set aside to fund at least one pilot program to support grocery workers.

“The pandemic highlighted the importance of farmworkers, meatpacking and grocery workers to our nation’s food-supply chain,” Strain said. “Investing in the individuals on the front lines reinforces America’s food supply chain.”

The relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family or living expenses related to the pandemic.

Funds ranging from $5 million to $50 million will be awarded through grants to state agencies, Tribal entities and non-profit organizations serving farmworkers and meatpacking workers. Eligible entities must demonstrate the capacity to reimburse farmworkers and meatpacking workers for up to $600 for expenses incurred due to the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

The program is funded by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and is part of USDA’s Build Back Better efforts to respond and recover from the pandemic.

Additional details about the program will be announced at a later date.

To read the full announcement, go to