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May 6, 2022

USDA commits $50m in pandemic assistance for wool and cotton producers

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended its Pandemic Assistance programme to include manufacturers of eligible wool suits and cotton dresses.

By Fi Forrest

The USDA launched its Cotton and Wool Apparel (CAWA) Programme on 5 May which is part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, first rolled out in March 2021.

The initiative was designed to help out farmers, ranchers and producers impacted by Covid-19 market disruptions.

The USDA programme provides US$50m to assist eligible apparel manufacturers of worsted wool suits, sport coats, pants, or Pima cotton dress shirts; Pima cotton spinners; and wool fabric manufacturers and wool spinners.

“The transition toward remote work at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic led to a dramatic decrease in consumer demand for dress clothing, which has continued to affect the entire supply chain of Pima cotton and wool,” said Farm Service Agency (FSA) administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “While many manufacturers of these products shifted to the production of personal protective equipment, the industry has nevertheless struggled to recover from a persistent and significant decline in sales. The relief announced today will help keep these manufacturers in business, which will ultimately support American workers and the domestic Pima cotton growers and wool producers who rely on this industry.” 

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency national office will administer the direct payments for CAWA. The program supports eligible entities who experienced a decrease of at least 15% in 2020 gross sales or consumption of eligible products compared to the applicant’s gross sales in any of calendar years 2017, 2018, or 2019.  

Payments to eligible entities will be based on their pre-pandemic market share. Additionally, eligible entities must have filed an affidavit for a payment in any year from 2017 to 2021 for the Pima Agriculture Cotton Trust Fund or Agriculture Wool Apparel Manufacturers Trust Fund through USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). 

Full details are available here

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