April 18, 2020
From Congressman Tom Reed:
Today, Rep. Tom Reed announced a new $19 billion United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) program intended to support farmers during the coronavirus crisis. Following the passage of the CARES Act, the USDA heard from the agriculture community and Members of Congress about areas of need and responded on April 17 with the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The program provides direct economic assistance to farmers, including $2.9 billion to dairy producers and $2.1 billion for specialty crop producers. “We have been talking to our farmers regularly and hear their needs and concerns. Understanding our communities are hurting, the USDA has mobilized quickly to help farmers since receiving feedback from Congress last week,” said Reed. “I am glad to stand with Secretary Purdue to support our farmers with this much-needed assistance. Between direct financial relief and purchasing programs, I am optimistic we can get through this crisis, standing together.”
The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program is composed of two main components.
1. Direct financial relief to farmers
2. USDA purchasing and distribution of agricultural products
The first portion provides $16 billion in direct assistance to farmers that will address producers’ financial losses seen since the beginning of the year and provide aid for anticipated losses from currently depressed market conditions. The second portion, totaling $3 billion, allows for the USDA to begin the purchasing and distribution of surplus crops, dairy, and meat. Purchases for each commodity category will start at $100 million per month. Products will be packaged for distribution to community, faith-based, and non-profit organizations supporting people in need.
On April 10th, Tom joined Minority Leader McCarthy and other Members of Congress in urging the USDA to provide immediate assistance and resources to the struggling dairy industry. Secretary Purdue is familiar with the region’s needs; the Secretary joined Tom in Geneva, New York, on May 30th for a facility tour and roundtable discussion with local agricultural leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing area farmers.
Any farmer or member of the agricultural community can contact Tom and his team for support on this program here.