In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue Tuesday morning, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota urged the Administration to maximize the purchase of agricultural commodities for donation and distribution to aid hungry Americans and struggling farmers during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The pictures and video of milk being dumped and fresh vegetables being plowed into the ground is unsettling to most Americans, but it is heartbreaking for those farm families that produced that commodity,” said Peterson, adding that purchases by USDA of those products can “help ensure that the production that no longer has a foodservice market can be made available to help our nation’s food banks.”
In the letter, Peterson urged the Administration to use the $9.5 billion in funding through the CARES Act, as well as the authorities of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), and Section 32.
“The agricultural economy was already in a fragile state from several years of adverse weather conditions and our challenging trade situation. Despite being an essential service, our ag producers and their supply chain partners are facing the total loss of some market segments and the inability to quickly change their marketing and processing capabilities to meet the new realities,” added Peterson.
The full letter can be found here.