USDA is preparing to distribute $16 billion in direct aid to producers who have experienced financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program are expected to be open in early May, but the program as currently designed may leave out thousands of farmers, including producers who sell into local and regional markets and producers historically underserved by USDA, including farmers of color. Learn more about what we’ve seen so far on our FAQ page here.
On April 30, we sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue inviting him to meet with a cohort of our young farmers in a virtual roundtable to hear from them directly on what they need to survive this crisis. Our invitation was not accepted.
USDA has not yet released full details on their program, so now is the time to ask questions and speak up to ensure the program works for all farmers in need of aid. Farmers, USDA needs to hear directly from you. Join our social media action to help make sure COVID-19 relief funds reach your farm:
- Post a photo on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram of something you are planting/growing right now.
- Share how COVID-19 is impacting your farm business, market losses you’re experiencing, ways you are innovating, etc.
- Include a question or two, like: How will the USDA use funding provided by the CARES Act to support local producers like me? How will USDA ensure the funds reach historically underserved communities? How can diversified farmers show their losses? What about farmers whose losses came after April 16th? How can organic farmers qualify at organic prices?
- Use the handle @USDA on Twitter and Facebook and @usdagov on Instagram, and hashtags #YoungFarmers and #Plant2020. Tag your Members of Congress too!
Here’s an example from our New Mexico Campaign Organizer, Zoey Fink: