DearColleague.us

Letter

Chellie Pingree

From the office of:

Chellie Pingree

Sending Office: Honorable Chellie Pingree
Sent By:
Kelliann.Blazek@mail.house.gov

Closing COB Today!

Dear Colleague,

Please join us in supporting relief for farmers and ranchers suffering market losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic by cosigning a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Perdue.

Unfortunately, various farming and ranching communities across the Nation are selling their product at a financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, farmers are losing direct markets as farmers markets and schools close. A recent report estimated
a decline in sales of more than $680 million across key local and regional markets due to COVID-19 from March to May 2020. Additionally, cattle producers are experiencing an unprecedented collapse in prices that prevents many of these ranchers from recouping
the cost of production. And milk prices continue to decline, making it even more difficult for dairy producers to stay in business.

We are pleased that the Senate Amendment to H.R. 748, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act included $9.5 billion to support farmers impacted by coronavirus, including specialty crop producers, local food producers, and livestock
producers. Farmers and ranchers need immediate assistance, so please join us in writing to Secretary Perdue to express our support for swift implementation of this provision. We must ensure that farmers who have lost direct markets as well as those farmers
and ranchers losing income receive their fair share of any relief, especially direct assistance, provided by USDA.

If you would like to sign on, please contact: Kelliann Blazek (Pingree), Michael Reed (Bishop), Alan Feyerherm (Fortenberry), or Travis Martinez (Newhouse).

Sincerely,

 

Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.                                     Jeff Fortenberry

Member of Congress                                      Member of Congress

 

Chellie Pingree                                                Dan Newhouse

Member of Congress                                      Member of Congress

 

Dear Secretary Perdue,

We are writing to ensure that farmers who have lost direct markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic are specifically included in any relief, including direct assistance, provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farmers and ranchers from across
the agricultural spectrum have suffered deep losses and future contracts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The local and regional food economy has seen tremendous growth in the last decade. According to USDA, direct-to-consumer food sales in the U.S. totaled $2.8 billion in 2017. Whether it’s direct to consumer, direct to retail, or direct to institution, these
marketing channels have created important economic opportunities for farmers in our districts. Such opportunities have helped to keep farmers profitable, and have empowered consumers to learn more about where their food comes from. Unfortunately, farmers who
sell products at the local and regional level are suffering significant market losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report estimated a decline in sales of more than $680 million across key local and regional markets due to COVID-19 from March to May
2020. Many farmers can no longer sell products at farmers’ markets or to institutions, such as schools or universities, due to closures related to COVID-19. Many farms are dealing with unexpected expenses just to stay in business, including infrastructure
investments related to delivery or sanitation improvements that are necessary due to COVID-19.

In addition to the financial damage to the local and regional food economies, various farming and ranching communities across the Nation are selling their product at a financial loss. For example, cattle producers are experiencing an unprecedented collapse
in prices that prevents many of these ranchers from recouping the cost of production. The economic outlook for dairy farmers has also grown darker in a number of regions across the country as milk prices continue to decline. All of these producers, many of
which are small in size, need to continue selling their safe, affordable, and nutritious foods in the marketplace.     

As you know, Congress recently passed the Senate Amendment to H.R. 748, The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provides $9.5 billion in support for “agricultural producers impacted by coronavirus, including producers of specialty
crops, producers that supply local food systems, including farmers markets, restaurants, and schools, and livestock producers, including dairy producers.” We are very pleased that local food producers are specifically included in this relief.

As you work to swiftly implement this provision of CARES Act, we urge you to make sure that farmers who have lost direct markets as well as those farmers and ranchers losing income receive their fair share of any relief, especially direct assistance, provided
by USDA. Farmers engaged in the local and regional food economy and the various farmers and ranchers of all types of foods are in dire need of immediate assistance. Maintaining the diversity of American agriculture helps us all to prosper, and strengthens
our reputation as an agricultural world leader, so we cannot leave any farmers behind.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter, and we look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Agriculture, Economy

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