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MS timber businesses to get $15.7 million in pandemic assistance payments

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Mississippi U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith says the U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin distributing more than $15.7 million to Mississippi timber harvesters and timber hauling businesses negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers (PATHH) payments represent the final allotments funded through FY2021 appropriations to offset gross revenue losses of at least 10 percent in the 2020 calendar year, compared to 2019 revenue.

“As strong as it is in Mississippi, the timber industry was not immune from financial duress during the pandemic.  I appreciate that our timber harvesters and haulers will receive pandemic assistance to help put them on better footing as the economy attempts to rebound,” Hyde-Smith said.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Agriculture, Hyde-Smith helped develop the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.  This measure provided up to $200 million for PATHH.

At $15,718,335, the allocation for Mississippi is the largest among the 44 states receiving PATTH funds.  Payments to eligible Mississippi businesses will be based on applications submitted to the USDA Farm Service Agency between July and mid-October 2021.

The USDA established PATHH eligibility based on timber harvesting and/or timber hauling businesses that derive at least 50 percent of total gross revenue from cutting timber, transporting timber and/or the processing of wood on-site on the forestland.

In 2020, forest-related business generated $1.12 billion in production value in 2020 from the 19.7 million acres of forestland in Mississippi.  Overall, forest-related economic activity generated 61,619 jobs and over $2.96 billion in income, with overall value-added amounting to more than $4.99 billion last year, according to the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine.

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