As the country continues to grapple with the coronavirus, Dan Newhouse and others are calling on the USDA to help specialty crop producers. Newhouse was joined by fellow Republican Fred Upton of Michigan, as well as Democrats Jimmy Panetta of California and Henry Cuellar of Texas, writing a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue calling for proportional aid for specialty crop producers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The letter points out that specialty crop producers are experiencing shrinking and disappearing markets due to restaurant and school closures as well as a lack of international demand. The letter requests that as USDA develops a relief plan for the funding included in the CARES Act, that aid for specialty crop producers be commensurate with their damage.
“We strongly urge your initial support to be focused on those growers currently facing significant hardship and consider the impact of the current outbreak on demand and prices for a number of these agriculture commodities,” the letter stated. “Given the catastrophic drop in demand for certain products, many growers are being asked to cut production well below recent purchase commitments and historical production levels. In many cases, growers have already purchased inputs, prepped the ground, and in some cases, planted crops (thousands of dollars per acre) that suddenly no longer have a market. In other instances, growers who have stored their perishable 2019 crop are in jeopardy of losing tens of millions of dollars because food service and institutional demand is nonexistent for the foreseeable future.”
Click Here to read the entire letter.
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