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Farmers and Ranchers Need Relief

Aug 14, 2020
Column

Texas farmers and ranchers are essential to keep America’s food supply secure, working around the clock to keep food on our tables. Every sector of the agriculture industry has been adversely affected: row crops, livestock, dairy, specialty and horticultural crops, and produce. Despite facing devastating losses as a result of COVID-19, they’ve demonstrated a commitment and resolve to which we should all be grateful. To ensure we safeguard our national food supply, farmers and ranchers will require targeted funding and programs to guarantee they overcome the challenges that currently exist in the marketplace.

Throughout this crisis, I’ve supported efforts to ensure that billions of dollars allocated for the agriculture industry under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act were delivered swiftly to those most in need. I sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting relief for dairy farmers and have been an advocate for programs like the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).

CFAP is designed to provide direct relief for farmers and ranchers who have experienced price declines and additional marketing costs. Eligible applicants of specified agricultural commodities must have suffered a five percent or greater price decline due to the pandemic in order to receive assistance. Currently, applicants are eligible for CFAP relief from the beginning of the pandemic through April 15, 2020, despite the crisis peaking for the agriculture sector from April to June 2020.

That’s why I am urging the USDA to provide more flexibility for farmers by extending eligibility for CFAP relief through June. Lengthening this evaluation period will aid in survival and recovery for millions of farm and ranch families. In addition, I requested that cow-calf and stocker operators receive more than $33 per head for the cattle they have been forced to hold due to the pandemic.

These are small but critical steps we can take to help alleviate some of the burden throughout our communities. As Congress considers an additional coronavirus relief bill, I am committed to providing these hardworking Americans with the support needed to adapt to our new landscape. In order to best serve Texas’ 25th Congressional District, I was pleased to work alongside our many farmers and ranchers to ensure that my efforts are in their best interest, and I’d like to thank them all for their valuable input.