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Members of US Congress urge swift and fair coronavirus relief for farmers and ranchers

29 April 2020

Hundreds of House members, led by Republicans from Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois and Minnesota, sent a letter to President Trump requesting that COVID-19 relief be implemented as quickly and fairly as possible.

Representatives Rick Crawford (R-Arkansas), Austin Scott (R-Georgia), Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) and Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota) recently co-led a letter with over 100 colleagues to President Trump requesting that COVID-19 related relief for our producers is effective and as immediate as possible as USDA begins the rule-making process.

Specifically, the letter highlights concerns that there will be a severe gap between producers’ losses and USDA’s aid. Further, the letter implores USDA to include all producers and to take care to not limit payments simply on the basis of income, risk management practices, or past USDA payments. Further, the letter notes Congress’ $14 billion replenishment of the Credit Commodity Corporation and requests USDA include the funds in the relief package.

“Americans are facing unprecedented uncertainty it’s vital that we protect our food supply and those who produce it. Our nation’s agricultural producers are fighting new challenges everyday due to the current pandemic and obtaining assistance shouldn’t be added to their plate. The COVID-19 relief fund must be easily accessible and immediately available for our farmers and ranchers to make certain that empty grocery aisles are a temporary problem,“ said Crawford. “USDA aid is crucial to bolstering our supply chain and limits will further exacerbate the anxiety Americans are feeling.”

"Food security is national security, which is why it is vital that our nation's farmers have the resources they need to maintain operations during this public health emergency. We must also keep in mind that 80 percent of domestic agricultural production comes from 10 percent of the farms, and they have faced devastating market collapses and labour shortages due to COVID-19," said Scott. "I'm thankful for the steps President Trump and Secretary Perdue have taken to support our farmers and maintain the food supply chain, however, the current payment limits put these farms that produce the majority of our food security at risk of collapse, and they must be increased significantly or eliminated altogether.”

“Protecting our nation’s food supply is critical during this pandemic to ensure food is available now and in the future,” said Davis. “USDA aid is essential to this goal. I appreciate Secretary Perdue’s leadership and I’m hopeful that together we can help our farmers and in turn, our country through this.”

“I am proud to join my colleagues in this effort to maximise the impact of these vital programmes. As farmers, ranchers, and producers work hard to keep our shelves stocked, we must do everything we can to ensure they have the support they need,” said Emmer. “I am grateful to the Trump Administration for their actions to aid our nation’s agriculture community. These additional steps will help serve the needs of our farmers and ranchers who feed, fuel, and clothe the world. It is critical that these programmes are effective for our agriculture community, who contribute to the safety and security of all Americans.”



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