Family farm organizations in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota are calling for strong oversight of the recently passed COVID-19 aid package to ensure the USDA disburses aid to people and rural communities.
In the letter, the Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment urged Congress to set up guardrails for USDA regarding a total of $24 billion in aid designed to support farmers hurt by the enormous disruption in markets and supply chains caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Family farmers and communities in rural Missouri and rural America, are stressed to the max,” said Darvin Bentlage, cattle and grain farmer from southwest Missouri. “We need help, and Secretary Perdue has a moral imperative to direct public stimulus funds to family farms and businesses on our rural Main Streets.”
"The focus needs to be on long-term positive changes to our farming system, like support for local and regional food systems," said Darrel Mosel, a grain-livestock farmer and Land Stewardship Project member from central Minnesota.
“Family-scale farmers and ranchers that produce for regional communities need assistance,” said Stephanie Peterson, Dakota Rural Action Board member and owner of Fruit of the Coop in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Campaign for Family Farms & the Environment is composed of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Dakota Rural Action, Land Stewardship Project, Food & Water Watch, and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.