Ohio farmers optimistic new bailout will help them through pandemic

Ohio farmers optimistic new bailout will help them through pandemic

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - It’s harvest season in Ohio and farmers are working hard to get food to your table.

Ohio farmers are breathing a sigh of relief Thursday.

Money to help them through the pandemic is on the way.

President Trump recently announced $13 billion in new aid to farmers.

The U.S. Senate just passed that bailout as a part of a funding measure that will avoid a government shutdown until December 11.

19 Investigates is digging into how this could help local farmers.

Farmers are optimistic this funding will help them through tough times.

The Ohio Farmers Union told us the first bailout from the spring had its flaws, and many need this help now more than ever.

“I’m a fifth-generation farmer from Northeast Ohio,” said Joe Logan, who lives in Trumbull County.

Logan is with the Ohio Farmers Union, which represents several thousand farmers across our state, where agriculture is big business.

One in seven Ohioans are connected to farming.

“If you drive through Ohio you see acres and acres, thousands of acres of corn and soybeans. And you wonder where all those go. Well they go the livestock industry,” he said.

Logan said 90 percent of those crops are intended to feed cows, pigs, and poultry.

Logan said crops and the livestock industry in Ohio are intertwined.

“The livestock industry got hit very, very hard by the pandemic. And initially, a number of those enormous livestock processing plants got shutdown because of COVID,” he said.

Demand for corn and soybeans to feed farm animals went down and so did the prices for crops.

And it was harder to get meat to your kitchen.

“Right now we’re enjoying a bit of a rebound in the commodities market for corn and soy, the rest of the meat industry is still just hanging by a thread,” Logan said.

Luckily Logan is doing fine.

He’s raising grass-fed beef, selling it right off his farm.

He said demand is up.

“People want to know that their beef was produced without causing people to lose their lives and they also want to support local agriculture. So we are a little bit lucky there,” Logan said.

Some farmers weren’t happy with the first bailout this past spring.

The National Farmers Union did a study, finding many payments went to southern farmers.

And others went to large businesses.

“So that riled up a lot of farmers to know that their taxpayer dollars were going to support very wealthy corporations that were based in other nations,” Logan said.

But Logan is optimistic this round will be just what they need.

“It’s very encouraging, it looks like this latest round of support, pandemic support, is coming through in fine fashion,” he said.

He said farmers don’t want to depend on the federal government for too long.

“If we’re lucky we can get this behind us and start rebuilding systemically, and produce a market that is not only viable, but sustainable as well,” Logan said.

So how much do farmers get?

That depends on their production over the last several years, especially the last year.

Logan said it’s a simple process to sign up and get the funds.

19 News also reached out to the Ohio Farm Bureau.

They said this is not a bailout for farmers, but it does help continue funding programs already in place through the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). This includes income and price support and conservation funding.

“Given that COVID-19 continues to impact the farm economy, agricultural trade continues to face headwinds, farm-level cash receipts are at decade-lows, commodity prices remain depressed, farm debt is record high, working capital has been cut in half and the rate of return on assets is historically low, the passage of the CR continues access to much needed financial resources for farmers and eliminates additional risk to the farm economy,” a spokesperson said.

You can read more about how this effects the Commodity Credit Corporation here.

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