The Michigan Agri-Business Association (MABA) today called on U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to act with urgency to support agricultural producers facing serious economic hurdles as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. MABA joins other Michigan leaders and organizations that have called on the USDA to act promptly in support of Michigan agriculture at an uncertain time.
“The current situation facing the agriculture industry, especially dairy and livestock producers, is reaching critical levels that threaten to have a devastating ripple effect across our economy,” said Chuck Lippstreu, president of MABA. “Diminished demand, falling prices and major processing plant shutdowns have added to the economic pain for many. We need the USDA to work promptly to disperse funding under the CARES Act and help avoid an even broader economic disruption.”
On Monday, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters sent a comprehensive letter to the USDA detailing unique factors facing Michigan farmers and highlighting the need for CARES Act assistance. Yesterday, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Director Gary McDowell weighed in with a letter outlining critical needs for the industry. Multiple Michigan agricultural organizations last week also joined the call for expedited USDA assistance.
The CARES Act allocated $9.5 billion to assist dairy, livestock and specialty crop growers and provided $14 billion to refresh Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing authority, which can be used by the USDA to help struggling producers. The USDA also has a range of existing authorities it could use to further assist agriculture, including commodity purchases.
Source: Michigan Agribusiness Association press release