April 6, 2020
The American Farm Bureau Federation calls on USDA to help US farmers
The Farm Bureau said US farmers need financial assistance from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as COVID-19 impacts the country's food supply chain, reported Reuters.
In a letter posted by the trade group to the USDA, it asked for special direct payments to be channelled towards dairy producers, livestock farmers, cattle ranchers and other farmers.
In addition, the group also called for emergency funding for ethanol plants and corn growers who cannot sell crops to the plants, as well as livestock producers who now have no feed supply from the facilities' by-products.
The American Farm Bureau Federation wants all sectors in the country's agriculture industry to benefit from the COVID-19 stimulus bill, which gave USDA's Commodity Credit Corp an additional US$14 billion and US$9.5 billion towards assisting livestock producers, dairy farmers, specialty crop farmers and local agricultural groups.
The letter from the Farm Bureau urged the USDA to make immediate dairy product purchases to help offset foodservice and school meal programme losses.
As restaurants and schools have closed to due COVID-19, producers are scrambling to shift products from wholesale foodservice markets towards retail, a problem for milk, butter and cheese processing plants.
Many dairy farmers are being told to dispose their milk by cooperatives.
Another request by American Farm Bureau Federation in its letter to the USDA is to buy beef, pork, poultry and aquaculture products for use in food and nutrition programmes.
The Trump administration has used the Commodity Credit Corporation, created during the Great Depression to compensate and assist the US agriculture industry with close to US$30 billion in the last few years, especially during the trade war with China.