AFBF asks USDA for relief for farmers and ranchers impacted by coronavirus

Farmers and ranchers are being negatively impacted by the drop in cattle and other commodity prices due to the coronavirus. Minnesota Cattle Rancher Peter Bakken says the prices of his beef have collapsed and the future of his operation is unclear.

“This is a management nightmare trying to do the best that you can and through no control of your own are having to recover from a million dollar loss, putting you in a situation where maybe the fifth generation can’t come back to the farm,” he says.

Jim Alderman, a grower in South Florida, sells nearly all his produce to the food service industry and has been hurt by the widespread shutdown of restaurants, hotels, resorts, and theme parks. Alderman says it’s not even worth it to pick some of the produce…

“For example, we’re having 85-degree temperatures and squash has to be picked every day,” he says. “The market today is about $4 and change I’d receive for a half-bushel box of yellow squash or zucchini quash. That is way below our cost of picking and packing.”

The producers made these comments during an American Farm Bureau press call on Friday.

AFBF President Zippy Duvall says they are working with Ag Secretary Perdue to make him aware of the problems farmers and ranchers are facing. AFBF sent letter to Perdue providing recommendations for how to spend the $23.5 billion aimed at farm relief in the economic stimulus package.

The letter proposes providing direct payments to dairy, cattle, hog, and poultry producers as well as specialty crop and cotton growers.

The CARES Act provides $9.5 billion in financial support for farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus and $14 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation.

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