JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will distribute $15.7 million to Mississippi timber haulers in the form of Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers (PATHH) payments.

Mississippi will receive the largest PATHH payment out of 44 states, totaling $15,718,335, according to U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) The funds were created in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Mississippi businesses submitted applications for the fund between July and October of 2021 to the USDA Farm Service Agency to determine their eligibility. Businesses must derive at least 50% of total gross revenue from cutting timber, transporting timber or processing of wood on-site on the forestland to be considered eligible.

The Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine estimated that Mississippi forest-related business generated 61,619 jobs and over $2.96 billion in income last year. The industry created an overall value of $4.99 billion last year.