The impacts of coronavirus on agriculture and our food system are still evolving, but you can make a difference today. Congress is currently debating a coronavirus economic stimulus bill, and you can help make sure that the farmers and farmworkers who keep us fed are included in that support. See below for ways Congress can help. This legislation is moving very quickly, so today is your best window to make an impact.
Or call your Representative! We’ve included a sample phone script below with specific asks for how to support farmers. Click below to find phone numbers for your Representatives.
Sample Phone Script – or feel free to use your own words!:
“Hello, my name is _____ and I am a constituent and a voter in state or county (tell them if you’re a farmer!). I’m calling today to ask Representative _______ to make sure that farmers and farmworkers are included in any COVID-19 Congressional support. The COVID-19 outbreak has created a crisis for farmers and farmworkers across the country. And for the safety and security of the country, we must have a stable, secure food supply during this time.
At this time, farmers urgently need the following (you can pick some of the issues below or mention all):
- Direct the USDA Farm Service Agency to ensure that farmers’ debt burden during the pandemic does not cause them to lose the farm by: waiving restrictions on refinancing FSA loans, buying down interest rates to 0%, and waiving the prohibition of USDA loan for farmers who have caused a loss in the past.
- Accelerate the pilot program authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill to allow for online SNAP purchasing so that other e-commerce platforms may process EBT payments and so farmers and farmers markets can still serve SNAP communities through online sales.
- Help farmers protect the health of the farmworkers they employ, by increasing funding for health services provided by local health departments and other health providers in order to meet needs such as additional housing for quarantines, transportation, food for sick workers, and medical expenses.
- Direct Congress to create a program to provide direct financial assistance for farmers with impacted marketing channels and sales due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition, adapt existing insurance, disaster, and indemnity programs to provide financial relief for farmers with impacted marketing channels and sales due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Support Senator Gillibrand’s bill for direct Farm Service Agency loan forgiveness.
Thank you for your time.”