Scranton, PA – In light of the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the agriculture industry, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) held a call with Pennsylvania agriculture leaders to discuss solutions, challenges and needs for farmers across the Commonwealth. In the past five weeks, dairy farmers have seen an estimated $5.7 billion loss due to price declines. The fresh produce industry has experienced $5 billion in losses with additional losses expected in the coming months.
“Agriculture is the Commonwealth’s top industry, and farmers and agricultural businesses are essential to our economy. Farmers do incredibly hard and important work, and I know as a result of COVID-19, an already challenging job has become even more difficult. I will continue to press USDA to ensure that payments in the CARES Act provide support for farmers selling into local markets, specialty crop producers and dairy farmers, all of whom have a significant footprint in Pennsylvania,” said Senator Casey.
Senator Casey recently sent letters to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that USDA deliver direct assistance to dairy farmers and specialty crop producers to account for losses suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, and tailor USDA relief efforts to farmers in various local markets. Through the CARES Act, Congress provided financial assistance to farmers who are experiencing severe financial losses during the pandemic. This includes a $9.5 billion dedicated disaster fund for specialty crop, dairy, livestock and local food producers who have been unable to receive emergency assistance in the past. Senator Casey also led a Pennsylvania delegation letter to the Small Business Administration to ensure that loans and programs are available and work for farmers and agricultural businesses.
More information on resources to help farmers during COVID-19 is available here.
Read the letter to Secretary Perdue on assisting dairy farmers here.
Read the letter to Secretary Perdue on assisting specialty crop producers here.
Read the letter to Secretary Perdue on farmers’ loss of sales here.
Read the letter to the Small Business Administration here.