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Pingree: USDA’s CFAP Program Creates Hurdles for Small Farms to Access $16B Congress Allocated for Farmer Relief

Portland, Maine, May 21, 2020

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree issued the following statement on the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program eligibility details:

“Although all farmers in this country are dealing with the economic fallout of COVID-19, small and local growers who sell primarily to restaurants and direct-to-consumer markets are particularly hard hit as they typically don’t have the size or assets to withstand such dramatic shifts, nor do they regularly benefit from existing USDA subsidies. The CARES Act identified small and midsized farms as being specifically in need of relief but the USDA’s rulemaking process and contract awards have basically put the $16 billion Congress allocated for overall agricultural recovery out of reach to local and regional growers. It’s disappointing that despite bipartisan calls for this funding to take into account the diversity of our nation’s agriculture markets, the USDA rulemaking ignored this input, wasn’t transparent in its rulemaking, and has put local growers at a disadvantage during this pandemic.” 

 

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