Congressman Costa Leads 108 Members in Calling on USDA to Provide Direct Support to Specialty Crop Producers
FRESNO, CA – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16), along with Congressman Fred Upton (MI-06), Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) led 108 members of the House of Representatives in sending a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue calling for the Administration to provide direct support to specialty crop producers as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is implemented.
“Our food supply is a national security issue. We must do all we can to help our specialty crop producers, who have experienced losses due to economic conditions from COVID-19. I am hopeful that funding in the CARES Act can help stabilize conditions for these valued farmers," said Costa.
The CARES Act includes $14 billion for the replenishment of the Commodity Credit Corporation and an additional $9.5 billion for agricultural producers impacted by COVID-19, including specialty crop producers, producers that supply local food systems, and livestock producers.
The letter specifically calls on Secretary Purdue to include the following in USDA’s recovery and relief plan for specialty crop producers:
- Fresh produce purchases to counter the steep decline in purchases in the food service sector and to ensure the continuity of school meal service during school closures.
- Direct payments to specialty crop producers through the Market Facilitation Program to provide relief to farmers impacted by trade volatility stemming from coronavirus.
- Flexibility and assistance to comply with Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act
The letter was signed by Representatives Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., Rick Allen, Mario Diaz-Balart, Ami Bera, Jack Bergman, Jaime Herrera Beutler, Suzanne Bonamici, Mike Bost, Anthony Brindisi, Julia Brownley, Cheri Bustos, Salud Carbajal, Tony Cárdenas, Earl L. ‘Buddy’ Carter, Emanuel Cleaver, II, Ben Cline, Jenniffer González Colón, Jim Costa, Joe Courtney, TJ Cox, Rick Crawford, Jason Crow, Henry Cuellar, Rodney Davis, Peter DeFazio, Rosa L. DeLauro, Suzan DelBene, Antonio Delgado, Val Demings, Debbie Dingell, Jeff Duncan, Neal P. Dunn, M.D., Brian Fitzpatrick, Marcia L. Fudge, Russ Fulcher, John Garamendi, Tulsi Gabbard, Josh Gottheimer, John Joyce, Vicente Gonzalez, Josh Harder, Alcee L. Hastings, Brian Higgins, Jared Golden, Jahana Hayes, Chrissy Houlahan, Jared Huffman, Bill Huizenga, Will Hurd, Fred Keller, Daniel T. Kildee, Derek Kilmer, Ann Kirkpatrick, Ann McLane Kuster, Doug LaMalfa, Doug Lamborn, Rick Larsen, Brenda Lawrence, Al Lawson, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Tom Malinowski, Sean Patrick Maloney, Doris Matsui, James P. McGovern, Jerry McNerney, John Moolenaar, Debbie Murcarsel-Powell, Gregory F. Murphy, M.D., Stephanie Murphy, Dan Newhouse, Jimmy Panetta, Scott Perry, Collin C. Peterson, Chellie Pingree, Stacey E. Plaskett, Mark Pocan, Bill Posey, Cedric L. Richmond, Denver Riggleman, Betty McCollum, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, David Rouzer, Raul Ruiz, M.D., John H. Rutherford, Kurt Schrader, Kim Schrier, Austin Scott, David Scott, John Shimkus, Mike Simpson, Elissa Slotkin, Xochitl Torres Small, Darren Soto, Ross Spano, Elise Stefanik, Greg Steube, Eric Swalwell, Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, Mike Thompson, Scott Tipton, Fred Upton, Jefferson Van Drew, Juan Vargas, Filemon Vela, Peter Welch, Jennifer Wexton, and Ted S. Yoho, D.V.M.