Today, a bi-partisan group of 126 members in the U.S. House of Representatives called on President Trump to eliminate payment limits for specialty crops, as well as livestock and dairy producers, before the final Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) details are announced.
Last Friday, USDA announced $2.7 billion in funding for the specialty crop industry as part of the CFAP, $2.1 billion for direct payments and at least $100 million per month for six months in specialty crop purchases.
Unfortunately, USDA has placed a limit of $125,000 per commodity, with an overall limit of $250,000 per farm operation. These limits do not take into account the cost of agricultural labor and other unique costs related to the growing and harvesting of specialty crops, as well as other commodities.
The letter states these payment limits, “would severely restrict the program’s effectiveness for many family-owned farms and ranches across the nation,” and called on President Trump to, “eliminate payment limits for livestock, dairy and specialty crop producers before the final CFAP program details are announced.”
Representatives Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and Jim Costa (CA-16) were among the co-leaders of the letter.
“We appreciate the efforts of our congressional champions, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jimmy Panetta, to seek remedy for our concerns with the payment limitations outlined in USDA’s direct payment plan. Simply put, $125,000 per commodity or $250,000 per farm is wholly inadequate to mitigate the massive economic damage that has been incurred by countless producers of fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, a total that is estimated at $5 billion and counting,” said Western Growers President/CEO Dave Puglia in a recent press statement.
Click here to read the full letter. Click here to read Puglia’s full statement.