Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is calling for the U.S. Agriculture Department to quickly send stimulus funds to farmers and agriculture companies.
Fried sent a letter to U.S. Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue urging him to send $9.5 billion in direct assistance to agriculture. The funds were included in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package the White House and Congress agreed upon at the end of last month.
According to Fried’s office, she “shared with USDA several proposals from national and Florida agriculture industry partners highlighting the needs on the ground in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This included repeating her request “for the USDA to utilize its Section 32 purchasing authority to provide immediate relief to Florida farmers struggling due to market disruptions caused by COVID-19, which, she insists, “would allow more local producers to participate in federal feeding programs.”
“As the USDA continues working to mitigate the disruptions this pandemic has caused to the agriculture industry, including establishing urgently needed programs to get the $9.5 billion in direct aid provided by the CARES Act into the hands of producers as quickly as possible, I write today to lift up the recommendations of our industry partners in Florida on what is needed to keep our food supply and ag economy strong,” Fried wrote Purdue.