Senators Urge USDA to Help Farmers

By Connor Ciecko

Washington, DC – A group of senators, including Illinois senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, penned a letter urging the Trump Administration to provide funds to farmers who are currently struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We write today to emphasize the high level of damages being experienced by local food producers and to provide comments on fair allocation of the CARES payments,” the letter read.  Many farmers markets have had to postpone the start of their selling seasons for the safety of the farmers and the crowds who typically gather at the markets.

The Senators wrote to Sonny Perdue, secretary of the USDA, asking to ensure that the nation’s food producers are equitably treated during the division of the $9.5 billion outline in the CARES act.  The letter asked for aid to be provided to help offset the $1.1 billion that is projected to be lost by local food producers who earn at least a quarter of their income from selling directly to consumers at places such as at farmers markets and through local distributors.

The Senators asked for relief payments to match 25% of the producers’ lost annual revenue up to a maximum of $25,000.  The letter was signed by a bipartisan panel of 30 senators from states across the country.

The full letter can be read here.