This is an Action Alert from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. Please share it widely!
Please Tell Your U.S. Senator TODAY: Local Farms Need COVID-19 Relief!
The majority of farmers selling local foods have suffered severe market disruptions due to COVID-19, yet the USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) has left them out. Now we have a chance to fix this dire situation!
U.S. Representative Alma Adams (NC-12) introduced the Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act (HR 8096) in the House of Representatives. The bill is a comprehensive approach to help small and mid-scale farms, farmers markets, and local food businesses cope with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Local and Regional Farmer and Market Support Act would:
- Create a COVID-19 relief payment program for farmers, who sell in local and regional markets, based on their lost revenue.
- Ensure Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) producers and low-income communities of color receive equitable access to COVID-19 relief programs.
- Provide emergency response grants for farmers markets and local food enterprises to implement public health protections and COVID-19-friendly marketing practices.
- Invest in the restoration and enhancement of local and value-added agriculture markets.
Time is running out to get this proposal included in the COVID-19 stimulus package being negotiated in Congress right now. Your voice can make a critical difference and help keep local farms in business.
The Ask: Support Local Food by Introducing a Senate Version of the Local and Regional Farms and Markets Support Act
Got four minutes? Please make two calls—dial your two U.S. senators and urge them to support local food in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill by introducing a Senate version of the Local and Regional Farms and Markets Support Act.
Here is a script you may use (adapt as you like):
“Hello, my name is _________ and I am a constituent and a voter (tell them if you’re a farmer!).
I’m calling to urge you to support small and mid-scale local farms in the next COVID-19 relief package. Three out of four small farms are losing significant income because restaurant, farmers market, and agritourism sales have shrunk due to the pandemic. Many local farms in our community will be out of business by the end of the year if they don’t get targeted relief in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill.
Current USDA programs pay local farmers just pennies per pound on the crops they produce, which doesn’t come close to the losses local farms are suffering. The Local and Regional Farms and Markets Support Act has been introduced in the House of Representatives as House Bill 8096. Please introduce a Senate companion to House Bill 8096 so our local farms can receive the support that meets their needs in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill.
Thank you for your time.”
Remember: If your call is routed to an answering machine, please leave a message. It will make a difference!