Hanbidge legislation to provide relief for feed sellers, livestock producers

HARRISBURG, May 18 – State Rep. Liz Hanbidge, D-Montgomery, has prepared legislation to provide emergency relief for feed sellers and livestock producers struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposed bill, which already has more than a dozen cosponsors, was first circulated among her colleagues in the House of Representatives in late April. Hanbidge plans to officially introduce the bill soon.

With the COVID-19 pandemic widely affecting all facets of daily life for nearly every resident of our country, many Pennsylvania residents and businesses are faced with the prospect of financial hardship, she said, including those in the agricultural community.

“Livestock producers spend countless hours breeding, raising and feeding animals to ensure that food products so many of us take for granted are available each day,” Hanbidge said. “Many of these producers, along with those who supply them with feed for their livestock, are faced with a financial dilemma because, while their income may have slowed down or been cut off altogether during these difficult times, their operational costs have remained the same.”

Federal aid provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act will allocate roughly $23 billion to the agriculture industry, including $9.5 billion to producers of dairy, livestock, specialty crops and those who produce and supply food to local farmers markets, schools and restaurants.

To ensure that those who breed, raise and feed livestock receive a portion of the $9.5 billion in federal funding, Hanbidge is introducing this legislation to establish a special fund under the state’s Agriculture Rapid Response Disaster Readiness Account to provide grants to feed sellers and livestock producers.

“Agriculture plays an integral role in Pennsylvania, so I believe it is incumbent on each of us to do our part to provide financial relief to this industry to help it cope with the current economic situation,” Hanbidge said.