Pandemic assistance now available for timber harvesters and haulers

According to the Times-News, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is providing Pandemic assistance up to $200 million to provide relief to timber harvesting and timber hauling businesses. The funding like most pandemic assistance is to provide relief to those that have experienced losses due to COVID-19 as part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

Loggers and truckers can apply for assistance through USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) now until October 15th, 2021. This assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers program (PATHH) is administered by FSA through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

According to the article, Timber harvesting and hauling businesses that have experienced a gross revenue loss of at least 10% during the period of Jan. 1 and Dec. 1, 2020, compared to the previous period in 2019 are encouraged to apply.

“On top of the existing challenges associated with natural disasters and trade, the pandemic caused a major disruption for loggers and timber haulers including lack of access to wood processing mills. This industry plays a critical role in our nation’s economy and we are proud to support these hard-working loggers and truckers as they get back on track,” said Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The program details to be eligible for payments, individuals or legal entities must be a timber harvesting or timber hauling business where 50% or more of its gross revenue is derived from one or more of the following, cutting timber, transporting timber, and processing of wood onsite on the forest land. Payments are based on the applicant’s gross revenue from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 1, 2019, minus gross revenue received from Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 1, 2020, multiplied by 80%. FSA will issue the initial payment equal to the lesser of the calculated payment amount or $2,000 as applications are approved. A second payment will be made after the signup period has ended based upon the remaining PATHH funds.

The maximum amount that a person or legal entity may receive directly is $125,000. To find a local FSA office, loggers and truckers can visit farmers.gov/service-locator or call 877-508-8364 to speak to USDA employees ready to offer assistance.