American Rescue Plan requires egg purchases

March 18, 2021

President Biden signed a massive $1.9 trillion COVID relief package called the American Rescue Plan Act. Among its many provisions is a $3.6 billion mandate to purchase agricultural commodities, some of which are required to be eggs.

The law (P.L. 117-2) sets aside $4 billion for “food supply chain and agriculture pandemic response.” Of that amount, up to $3.6 billion will be used to purchase commodities, primarily for donations to food banks. The funds will be spent on many different commodities, and it is not known how many dollars will go to any specific product. However, eggs are singled out as a commodity that must be purchased with the funds. The balance of the $4 billion is also of potential benefit to the egg industry, as it includes:

  • $300 million for animal health surveillance for COVID-19;
  • $100 million to reduce overtime inspection costs for small and very small meat, poultry and egg product facilities; and
  • Some funds from the $3.6 billion pool can be used to make grants to purchase personal protective equipment for food industry workers and strengthen supply chains.

Other provisions that will potentially expand food demand by low-income Americans include:

  • An extension through September 30 of the temporary 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits; and
  • Extends the Pandemic EBT program, under which families with children can receive the value of school meals added to Electronic Benefit Transfer