The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing financial relief for industries and businesses in Columbia County, across the state and the nation impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfires.

Relief Funding

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

The USDA is providing up to $200 million in relief funds to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses that experienced losses due to COVID-19.

Loggers and truckers can apply for assistance July 22 through Oct. 15, 2021.

Timber harvesting and hauling businesses that have experienced a gross revenue loss of at least 10% from Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2020, when compared to Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2019, are encouraged to apply.

The funding is part of USDA’s "Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

The Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers program (PATHH) is administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, and was authorized in the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

Wildfire impact relief

USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson has announced that USDA is making priority funding available for coastal National Scenic Areas that have been devastated by wildfires. National Scenic Areas are environmentally protected, federally designated locations that have outstanding natural and scenic value.

“Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to getting help to rural communities that have been impacted by wildfires in many parts of the country,” Maxson said. “As severe weather and natural disasters continue to threaten the livelihoods of residents and businesses in rural America, we want the communities we serve to know that USDA stands ready to help.”

USDA is reserving $2 million under the Rural Business Development Grants program for eligible projects in rural communities located on a river or ocean coastline. Priority is being given to National Scenic Areas impacted by wildfires.

Projects must be consistent with any USDA Rural Development state strategic plan, local and area-wide community and economic development strategic plans and support other economic development activities. Funds may be used to create business support centers, finance job training and support leadership development.

Eligible entities include rural coastal towns, communities, state agencies, authorities, nonprofits, federally recognized tribes, institutes of higher education and cooperatives.

Applications will be scored, reviewed and selected on a competitive basis. They must be submitted to the applicant’s nearest USDA office by July 6, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. local time. Additional information is available on page 27365 of the May 20, 2021, Federal Register (PDF, 245 KB).

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. The assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, Tribal and high-poverty areas.

For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.

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