House Democrats concerned USDA failed to help certain farmers

Nineteen House Democrats have expressed concern that several groups of farmers have been left out of USDA coronavirus aid programs.

In a letter to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, they say direct payments to producers through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) have overlooked small farms and those owned by beginning, veteran, minority, and socially disadvantaged farmers.

The lawmakers have also questioned the system used to award contracts under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, saying producers with strong connections to food supply chains in their regions were “passed over for companies that lacked experience working with food banks.”

The group, led by Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Marcia Fudge of Ohio, Annie Kuster of New Hampshire and Chellie Pingree of Maine have requested details on the distribution of CFAP funds by size of farm and type of production, the formulas for calculating direct payments to a given producer and the methodology used to award food box program contracts.

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