March 25, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eric Deeble
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Commends Congress for Important First Step Toward Supporting Farmers During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Washington, DC, March 25, 2020 – Today, Senate leadership announced a bipartisan deal on a new comprehensive aid package responding to the expanding COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate package released today is the third emergency relief bill considered by Congress.
The bill provides $9.5 billion in emergency funding to aid producers impacted by the ongoing crisis – including producers selling into local and regional markets.
“Congress has taken an important first step to helping farmers and local and regional food systems with this relief bill,” said Eric Deeble, Policy Director at NSAC. “As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and ‘social distancing’ restrictions, we expect farmers who have lost access to direct markets – like farmers markets, schools, and restaurants – stand to lose more than $1 billion in sales this year. As the impact of the pandemic continues, their losses will mount and they will have to make hard choices about what to plant and whether they can stay in business at all. Keeping operations profitable during this crisis is an even greater challenge for farmers with fewer resources to draw on in times of economic stress or uncertainty, including beginning farmers, small and mid-sized farmers, and farmers already experiencing systemic inequity, including farmers of color.”
“Farmers are going to need more help and NSAC will be looking to USDA to make sure any funding Congress provides reaches the farmers who need it most. In the weeks and months ahead, Congress must: ensure that the most-impacted farmers get direct payments to make up for lost income, prioritize additional administrative flexibility and direct investments in the field, including emergency food purchases from food hubs and small processors to keep them up and running, and ensure that every farmer has access to the credit and resources they need to put a crop in the ground this spring to provide for us all,” said Deeble.
NSAC released a statement on COVID-19 on March 19, highlighting the impacts of the pandemic on the food and farm system. The statement includes policy recommendations that we hope Congress will consider as further aid efforts move forward.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: http://sustainableagriculture.net
Categories: Press Releases