Wallaces Farmer

Legislation would deliver pandemic aid for farmers, ranchers and local food businesses.

August 27, 2020

3 Min Read

A North Carolina Democrat has introduced legislation to support farmers, ranchers and local and regional food systems during the pandemic.

Rep. Alma Adams introduced the Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act (Local Farmer Act) H.R. 8096 on Aug. 25.

“Farmers and ranchers have been under intense stress and market uncertainty for months during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and Rep. Adams recognizes that Congress must step up to help,” said Eric Deeble, policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has distributed billions in aid, but the program has left out thousands of producers, including farmers and ranchers who market locally, regionally or direct to consumers and especially Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) producers. CFAP payments are based on national, wholesale prices that do not always reflect the real value of crops sold by farmers directly to the customers. The Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act (Local Farmer Act) would address this concern by providing direct payments to local and regional food producers based on their historic revenue, and help their local markets as they both cope with the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

A closer look

The Local Farmer Act would:

  • Create an alternative coronavirus relief payment program for farmers that sell in local and regional markets based on their historic revenue, rather than price loss;

  • Provide emergency response grants for farmers markets and local food enterprises to implement public health protections and coronavirus-smart marketing practices. Farmers markets have struggled with increased cost and decreased revenue, and enterprises like food hubs have contented with major market losses as school and institutional food services have halted. The Local Farmer Act includes $25 million for emergency grants through the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program for farmers market operators and local food enterprises. 

  • Provide emergency response grants to direct marketing farmers to help them respond to shifting markets and adopt new socially-distant practices and sales models. In the wake of the pandemic, many producers need help to maintain or rebuild markets that have been severely impacted by the pandemic. The Local Farmer Act includes $25 million for emergency grants through the Value Added Producer Grant Program to assist producers’ efforts to adapt to new market environments.

  • Advance equity by prioritizing assistance funding to BIPOC farmers and low-income communities of color through set-asidesand requiring data reporting from USDA for accountability.

  • Provide robust expanded outreach and technical assistance to BIPOC farmers and ranchers resources for organizations serving BIPOC farmers and ranchers. So that every historically underserved farmer can learn about, understand, and apply successfully for COVID-19 relief payments and emergency grants, the Local Farmer Act includes $50 million to support outreach and technical assistance through the Sec. 2501 program.

Click on the download button below to download a two-page summary of the legislation.

Source: National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. 

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