April 2, 2020

WG, Industry Letter Outlines Specialty Crop Priorities in COVID-19 Relief Package

Yesterday, Western Growers joined its partner associations in the California specialty crop industry in sending a letter to Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and Devin Nunes outlining industry funding priorities from the CARES Act relief package.

The letter highlights three specific USDA program requests: direct payments to growers, a food purchase program and a PACA trust claim guarantee.

Direct Payments: Due to the significant instability of domestic and international markets, the letter calls on USDA to provide direct payments to specialty crop growers similar to those that have been made through the Market Facilitation Program.

Food Purchases: Because of the uncertainties in the foodservice supply chain, the signatories encourage USDA to work with growers/shippers, through a direct purchase program and an expanded Section 32 program, to procure specialty crop commodities that can be utilized by school feeding programs or food banks.

PACA Trust: Given the potential for widespread non-payment and bankruptcies within the foodservice sector, the letter proposes that USDA guarantee the payment of all legitimate PACA trust claims filed against bankrupt firms, to the extent these claims are not satisfied by the available trust assets. 

Click here to read the full letter.