Our voices were heard!
Yesterday, the USDA released the application for the second round of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (“CFAP2”). CFAP2 directly reflects the asks we made of Congress and USDA to create an aid program that better supports small, diversified, and direct-market growers. It’s a huge win for our coalition.
Thousands of young farmers who need support to keep their businesses running through this pandemic are now eligible for payments up to 10.6% of their 2019 revenue.
It’s been a long, tough season for our nation’s young farmers as they have managed one disaster after another–all while watching government relief programs fall short. Because the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program was a commodity-by-commodity approach not tailored to young farmers, this initial aid offered them little to no relief.
But the Coalition you built was built for this: we organized, we mobilized, and we made our voices heard.
Our policy team set up 45 meetings with USDA leadership, Agriculture Committee leadership, and Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to make the case for more accessible federal support for young farmers and farmers of color. We sent six letters to the Secretary of Agriculture and Congress advocating for a revenue-based model, and we worked with Members of Congress and our corporate partners to send letters to USDA on our behalf.
Most importantly, you contacted your legislators and shared your stories. Together, we sent more than 5,600 messages to Congress asking for aid that would work better for young farmers and farmers of color. During the height of the growing season, many of our young farmers took calls to share their stories with the Washington Post, NBC News, and other national news outlets, ensuring that our concerns were not overlooked.
Because of our coalition, we now have a relief program that acknowledges alternative models and compensates farmers for their efforts to feed their communities through the pandemic.
While this is an important step, we know our work isn’t done. These changes at USDA are only a part of what is needed to provide equitable relief throughout our food system, and we will continue to press Congress and the Administration to provide support and protections for farm workers as they continue to risk their lives doing the essential work we all depend upon.
Applications for CFAP2 are open now through December 11, 2020. Check out our COVID-19 FAQ page for program updates and how to apply. Share your application experience with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for taking action! When we work together, we can build a future for agriculture that we want and deserve, and this is really something to celebrate.