Loeffler Helps Secure Relief for Georgia Farmers
USDA Expands Eligibility for Coronavirus Food Assistance Program
ATLANTA – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is expanding a critical program that provides relief for farmers negatively impacted by the coronavirus. This comes after U.S. Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) requested that USDA broaden the applicant pool to better serve Georgia’s expansive and diverse agricultural industry, which has experienced significant losses due to the coronavirus.
The Coronavirus Aid, Recovery and Economic Stability (CARES) Act, supported by Loeffler, provided $9.5 billion in direct aid to farmers experiencing hardship due to the coronavirus through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Loeffler, a member of the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, asked that Georgia specialty crops, including blueberries, apples, cantaloupe, greens and lettuce be eligible for the program.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, farmers have continued to work in their fields to feed and clothe America,” Loeffler said. “This announcement is great news for Georgia farmers who have seen prices drop 50-60% and orders fall as restaurants and schools closed. I am glad Secretary Perdue has taken action to ensure farmers across the Peach State have access to the relief they need. Georgia farmers can rest assured knowing that this administration and I are committed to helping them weather this pandemic.”
- Loeffler also joined letters on behalf of blueberry and cotton growers. USDA also has increased payments for certain commodities, a request made by Loeffler and her colleagues.
- The following commodities are now eligible for relief: alfalfa sprouts, anise, arugula, basil, bean sprouts, beets, blackberries, Brussels sprouts, celeriac (celery root), chives, cilantro, coconuts, collard greens, dandelion greens, greens (others not listed separately), guava, kale greens, lettuce – including Boston, green leaf, Lolla Rossa, oak leaf green, oak leaf red and red leaf – marjoram, mint, mustard, okra, oregano, parsnips, passion fruit, peas (green), pineapple, pistachios, radicchio, rosemary, sage, savory, sorrel, fresh sugarcane, Swiss chard, thyme and turnip top greens.
- The following commodities are now eligible for expanded relief: apples, blueberries, garlic, potatoes, raspberries, tangerines and taro – CARES Act funding for sales losses because USDA found these commodities had a 5 percent or greater price decline between mid-January and mid-April as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.