Earlier in the week, Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue made a stop in Michigan.
Part of his visit was to celebrate more than 20 million food boxes as part of USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program. He participated in an Ag Innovation Roundtable at Swisslane Fams in Alto, Michigan.
“What a great honor to have the Secretary here in Michigan with a small group of individuals talking about farming—what their issues are, what they see as opportunities, and what USDA can do to help them along the way,” said Michigan Farm Bureau President Carl Bednarski.
One of the ways USDA has been helping farmers has been with the $16 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). As of Monday, FSA has processed nearly $5 billion in payments. As far as a second round of CFAP payments, Perdue said USDA is looking at it.
“Our economist is working on those numbers,” said Perdue. “We do believe that we were not able to sufficiently cover the indemnification from COVID in the first tranche of the $16 billion program.”
Congress appropriated an additional $14 billion to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation. Those funds will be available this month.
“We’re looking and taking damage estimates and damage applications of what the effective damage was so we can create a program that could potentially use that $14 billion as well,” said Perdue. “There may be need for more—we don’t know what the tail results of COVID-19 will be going forward.”
Annie Link of Swisslane Farms said she is thankful that Perdue came to their operation to discuss ways USDA can better tell the sustainable story of agriculture.
“We got to show him some of the technology that we’re using today and talk about the challenges and opportunities there are between different generational farming,” said Link.
Our thanks to Michigan Farm Bureau for providing audio.