Rep. Williams Urges Secretary Perdue to Provide Greater Flexibility for Farmers and Ranchers During COVID-19
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Roger Williams (R-TX-25) today sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the USDA to reevaluate losses for livestock and crops through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) from April 16, 2020 until June 30, 2020 and request that cow-calf and stocker operators be provided more than $33 per head for the cattle they have had to hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our Texas farmers and ranchers are essential to keeping our nation’s food supply secure and we must do everything in our power to provide relief as they continue facing challenges with fortitude and determination during the pandemic,” said Congressman Williams. “As the agriculture community has felt their heaviest losses over the last few months, allowing greater flexibility and aid will help in survival and recovery. I’m grateful for all the work that Secretary Perdue has done during COVID-19, and while we still have a long way to go, I am committed to providing these hardworking Americans with the support needed to continue serving Texans.”
“Texas Farm Bureau thanks Congressman Williams for working to provide meaningful assistance to farm and ranch families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening. “The Congressman’s willingness to voice our concerns in his letter to USDA shows how dedicated he is to agriculture. We look forward to continuing to work with leaders in Congress, like Congressman Williams, to continue providing critically needed support to the hardworking farmers and ranchers in Texas.”
CFAP provides direct relief to farmers and ranchers who have experienced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19. Eligible applicants of specified agricultural commodities must have suffered a five percent or greater price decline due to the pandemic in order to receive help. Currently, applicants may only apply for CFAP relief from the beginning of the pandemic through April 15, despite the crisis peaking for the agriculture sector from April to June 2020.
The letter reads: “The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has dealt an enormous blow to American ranchers and farmers, especially in the Great State of Texas. Every sector of agriculture has been hurt by the pandemic including row crops, livestock, dairy, specialty and horticultural crops, and produce.
“Since the beginning of the year, most agriculture sectors in America, specifically in Texas, have seen the markets drop more than 10 percent. Producers have only continued to lose revenue over the past few months and will continue to be impacted by the price decline unless we can adequately design the program to address and respond to those losses properly.
“Now more than ever, we must keep our ranchers in business as America recovers, which is why I urge you to provide more than $33 per head on inventory for cattle producers and allow USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) the ability to open Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acreage for emergency haying and grazing.”
Click here to view the letter online.
Congressman Roger Williams represents the 25th Congressional District of Texas and serves as a member of the House Committee on Financial Services.