COVID-19: Resources for Public Lands Ranchers
The Public Lands Council is committed to supporting ranchers and ensuring grazing activities continue safely and securely on public lands amid COVID-19. Currently, the situation is highly fluid and subject to a number of changes. We are monitoring the situation, working with ranchers, Congressional leadership, and agency officials to ensure grazing continues on public lands. We are in regular communication with Congress and federal agencies throughout this process, and submitted letters on behalf of PLC advocating for needs of the federal lands ranching industry.
- March 19: PLC Letter to McConnell, Schumer, Pelosi, McCarthy
- April 14: PLC Letter to HHS and USDA
- April 27: Ag Tax Coalition Letter
- May 8: USDA Wildlife Services Coalition Letter
- June 29: American Sheep Industry Association Future COVID Assistance Letter
If you need resources unavailable here, please contact us. We are here to help!
Operating During COVID-19
PLC’s primary focus was ensuring permittees could communicate with their local U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff to complete required permitting and turn out onto their allotments on time. To that end, PLC sent a letter asking Congressional leadership to support agencies in Congressional packages.
U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have issued guidance to their staff on preventing disruptions to the 2020 grazing season.
- March 20: USFS Guidance
- April 9: USFS Grazing FAQ
- April 20: BLM Guidance
Recommendations for sheep shearing shared by the American Sheep Industry Association:
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) compiled a list of essential personnel who may continue their normal work schedule in spite of COVID-19 restrictions. The “Food and Agriculture” section of that list is comprehensive and includes workers in all facets of the production structure, including: veterinarians, farmers, ranchers, and those who transport animals and animal production-related products.
USDA has compiled a series of resources for producers who rely on H-2A or H-2B workers in an effort to alleviate some of the shortages that are likely to occur as a result of travel restrictions.
The CARES Act authorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) to proceed with their regulatory process for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The PPP is a temporary loan guarantee program authorized through June 30, 2020, designed to provide funding so small businesses (employers with fewer than 500 employees) are able to retain employees on the payroll. These loans are 100% guaranteed by the SBA and may qualify for loan forgiveness, based on specific criteria. Generally, agriculture producers are eligible, and many of you may have already spoken to your lending institutions.
To date, Congress has passed three bills related to Coronavirus relief:
- March 6 – Phase 1: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020
- March 18 – Phase 2: Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- March 27 – Phase 3: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
- April 23 – Extension: Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (CARES 2.0)
- May 12 – House Draft: Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act