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RELEASE: NSAC Response to COVID-19 and its Impacts on the Farm and Food System

March 19, 2020


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Eric Deeble
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
202-547-5754, edeeble@sustainableagriculture.net

RELEASE: NSAC Response to COVID-19 and its Impacts on the Farm and Food System

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition calls on Congress to Support the Most Vulnerable Farmers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Washington, DC, March 19, 2020 – The rapidly developing COVID-19 pandemic is already causing significant impacts across the entirety of our US food and agriculture system.

Just yesterday, the Senate voted on and passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes an additional $1.25 billion for nutrition programs. As Congress begins to work on a larger economic relief package, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) urges Congress to support farmers who have already been heavily impacted by the pandemic. Necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus have resulted in restaurant, school, and institution closures and farmers losing critical markets and revenue.

“Congress has moved quickly to address the most urgent needs of our nation: to expand emergency feeding programs, provide paid sick leave for many workers, expand unemployment benefits, and increase emergency testing improve emergency relief,” said Eric Deeble, Policy Director at NSAC. “Now, as the enormity and lasting repercussions of the pandemic become more clear, it is vital that Congress and the Administration work together to support those farmers and ranchers especially vulnerable to impacts, including farmers who rely on direct markets and institutional buyers, small and mid-scale farmers, beginning farmers, and farmers of color. They must also strengthen and preserve the integrity of our direct market, local, and regional food systems that work to make safe and nutritious food available in every community.”

NSAC has released a statement on COVID-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 the next stimulus package moves forward.

“Any agricultural support package must prioritize these farmers and provide direct payments, rather than rely on Market Facilitation Payments or revenue support programs that have served them so poorly in the past, include all types of crops and livestock production systems, and be capped to ensure aid does not flow disproportionately to the few, wealthiest producers. The value chain that brings their products into all communities needs support as well, through accelerated grant funding, expanded program flexibilities, federal purchase of fresh and minimally processed farm products, and SNAP and TEFAP programs that meet the urgent needs of most vulnerable during this time of crisis,” said Deeble.

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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


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