Brown: Local farmers need relief

A bipartisan group of senators are asking Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to ensure that a portion of the $9.5 billion secured in the coronavirus relief bill goes to local farmers.

Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown says they want to make sure farmers who sell direct to consumers, schools, farmers markets, and restaurants get assistance.

“We think that’s important that with the declining market they get the kind of assistance they need,” he says.

The senators are also asking USDA to administer direct payments through the Farm Service Agency is response to the local food industry’s projected $1.1 billion loss.

“Farmers markets and direct sales are always a challenge- market conditions change, weather changes, people’s buying habits can be all over the place sometimes and we want to make sure that they weather this storm and that farmers can with some confidence know that what they’re growing can be sold,” he says.

The senators are asking that in order to be eligible for a direct payment, local food producer should derive at least 25 percent of total farm income from sales that are locally purchased.

In addition to Brown, the senators signing on to the letter include: Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan; Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois; Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith of Minnesota, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.

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