In response to a bipartisan congressional call to eliminate payment limits for specialty crop, livestock and dairy producers before the final Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) details are announced, Western Growers President & CEO Dave Puglia issued the following statement:
“We appreciate the efforts of our congressional champions, including Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jimmy Panetta, to seek remedy for our concerns with the payment limitations outlined in USDA’s direct payment plan. Simply put, $125,000 per commodity or $250,000 per farm is wholly inadequate to mitigate the massive economic damage that has been incurred by countless producers of fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, a total that is estimated at $5 billion and counting.
“Farmers in the fresh produce industry make major up-front investments in their crops. With the virtual collapse of the food service sector, many fresh produce farmers have been forced to abandon their fields to cut their losses, which has tallied into the millions even for smaller and medium-sized farming operations. While farmers have redirected a significant portion of their excess supply to food banks, the volume of production has outstripped the capacity of these non-profit organizations to handle the products. Furthermore, the added costs of harvesting and transporting the food makes additional donations economically unfeasible.
“We stand with our House and Senate champions in calling on the Administration to eliminate payment limits in their aid packages.”
The bi-partisan congressional letter can be viewed here.