On Monday, Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) led a bipartisan group of 29 Senators in calling on USDA to ensure that specialty crop producers receive financial aid for financial losses related to COVID-19.
In a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue, the group of Senators asks that as USDA specifies how the $9.5 billion disaster fund from the CARES Act will be spent, “specialty crop producers receive assistance that is commensurate with the losses they are facing.”
The letter notes that the fresh produce industry has experienced $5 billion in losses during the COVID-19 pandemic with the canceling of contracts with restaurants, schools and the hospitality industry, with additional losses expected in the coming months.
Echoing requests made by the specialty crop industry, the Senators request that USDA provide direct payments to producers who have lost revenue and are experiencing increased production costs related to COVID-19, as well as additional purchases of specialty crops for redistribution to food banks, schools and emergency feeding organizations.
Click here to read the full letter.