WASHINGTON — Thirty industry groups have sent a letter to Congress urging them to support the AG CHAIN Act (Assistance and Gratitude for Coronavirus Heroes in Agribusiness who are Invaluable to the Nation). The bill would provide a federal tax holiday and a payroll tax exemption for essential employees in the food and agriculture industry making less than $75,000 annually from Feb. 15, 2020, to June 15, 2020.

“Working each day during this emergency presents extraordinary challenges, and bakery employees and their suppliers are rising to the occasion,” said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based American Bakers Association. “America should demonstrate its gratitude to these selfless critical infrastructure employees who continue to show up every day to feed their communities and country. They have earned well-deserved tax relief for their commitment during this pandemic.”

Glenn “GT” Thompson and Dwight Evans, both representatives from Pennsylvania, introduced the bill on May 12. The AG CHAIN Act also would provide discretion to the US Department of the Treasury to extend the tax relief benefits for an additional three months. Eligible workers are defined by Department of Homeland Security guidelines identifying essential critical infrastructure.

Besides the ABA, some other industry groups signing the May 12 letter, which may be found here, included the American Beverage Association, the American Frozen Food Institute, FMI – The Food Industry Association, the Independent Bakers Association, the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Chicken Council, the National Confectioners Association, the National Pasta Association, the National Restaurant Association, the North American Millers’ Association and SNAC International.

“Supermarket workers and our supply chain partners remain on the job and are truly essential to America’s coronavirus response,” said Jennifer Hatcher, chief public policy officer of FMI – the Food Industry Association. “The AG CHAIN Act of 2020 recognizes the efforts of the food industry and gives our frontline associates well-deserved tax relief for their commitment to ensuring that grocery stores are open and stocked during this national emergency.”

Michael Dykes, DVM, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, added, “The AG CHAIN Act will ensure that these workers get more than a pat on the back for their invaluable efforts.”