The American Farm Bureau Federation is calling on lawmakers to provide critical resources to farmers impacted by the COVID-19 shockwave to the food system and to rural communities grappling with the pandemic’s impacts. Many struggling farmers were left out of initial federal aid, and some who received assistance are still being hurt with COVID-19 losses. As additional coronavirus relief is considered, Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to congressional leaders outlining the need.
The USDA’s most recent World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates suggest the decline in commodity value for 2019, 2020 and 2021 production adds up to almost $60 billion. This does not include all of agriculture’s losses, which would be billions more.
“The economic losses across the U.S. agriculture sector are broad‐based, directly impacting farmers and ranchers and their supply chain partners – from input providers to end users,” Duvall wrote. “Producers have witnessed their markets shrink overnight or even disappear, while supply chains have been stretched to the limit in response to the pandemic. The widespread closures at the retail level are impacting consumer demand and purchasing patterns in ways that the industry has never experienced.”
The list of priorities for additional COVID-19 relief legislation include:
Relief Funding for Agricultural Producers
Support for Livestock Producers
Rural Health Care
Agriculture Labor and Worker Safety
Read President Duvall’s letter to Congress here.