U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., co-chair of the Senate Chicken Caucus, praised the release of approximately $23 million in funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for Mississippi chicken growers.

“Chicken farmers are a vitally important part of Mississippi agriculture,” Wicker said. “I appreciate USDA awarding these funds and working with farmers to ensure they have the resources needed following challenges associated with COVID-19.”

Previously, contract growers, who raise chickens for poultry processing companies, had not received federal assistance during the pandemic. Many contract chicken growers suffered substantial losses when processing facilities were forced to reduce or suspend production during the pandemic.

Following extensive efforts from Senator Wicker, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 included funding for USDA to provide direct payments for contract chicken growers who previously had been excluded from assistance provided by USDA.

In June, Senator Wicker and Senator Coons led a bipartisan and bicameral letter to USDA urging the agency to complete the rulemaking process to administer this aid set aside for chicken growers as quickly as possible.

USDA recently announced that roughly $270 million in pandemic assistance would be provided for poultry and livestock contract producers nationwide.

A total of approximately $22.7 million will be distributed to 557 chicken growers in Mississippi, while $400,000 will go to chicken egg contract producers in Mississippi.

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