Farmers and Advocates – Take Action NOW on the Next Pandemic Aid Package!Wed, 29 Jul 2020 11:41:55 CDT
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has upended our food and farm system and triggered enormous and inequitable impacts on farmers and communities. The lives and livelihoods of millions of farmers, workers, and families are on the line as farm businesses struggle and 1 in 5 families are reporting food insecurity. Here’s an example from NSAC member Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s recent farmer survey: three out of four small farms in North and South Carolina are losing significant local food sales, some more than $1,000 a week, because sales in restaurants, farmers markets, and agritourism have collapsed. We are hearing similar stories from our members nationwide. Thousands of farms are at risk of being out of business by the end of the summer if they don’t get help in the next COVID-19 relief bill.
Amidst this crisis, the Senate released a draft pandemic aid package this week - and it doesn't do nearly enough. Here at NSAC this week we’re advocating for what’s urgently needed to support farmers and our food system right now. Can you join us?
Specifically, we want to highlight TWO big opportunities you can speak up about today:
• Direct support for producers currently left out of aid, especially diversified farmers, direct to consumer farmers, and farmers of color. USDA has distributed billions in needed aid to farmers this year - but the program is leaving out thousands, including some of the farmers most impacted by the pandemic. Congress needs to target aid and outreach toward these producers.
• Investments to strengthen the safety and capacity of local and regional food systems. These enterprises - including processors, distributors, markets, and emergency food sites - have been working nonstop with creativity and flexibility to feed their communities. They need help investing in protective gear for workers, equipment, and technology upgrades to keep getting food to families. There’s a bill that will help support these efforts - the Food Supply Protection Act - we need it to be included in the aid package!
Done right, this will mean farmers can stay in business and keep feeding their communities. It will mean more access to food for families in need. It will mean a more resilient farm and food system for the long haul toward recovery.
Got 90 seconds? Please make two calls — dial your two U.S. Senators using the Capitol switchboard and urge them to act in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill. Can’t get to the phone and want to send an email instead? We’ve got you - send one here!
Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121
Here is a script you can use (please adapt it as much as you’d 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 critical efforts for farmers and families in the next COVID-19 relief package. I have two specific requests for you today. First, please ensure the next aid bill includes direct aid that better serves local farmers who sell directly, diversified farmers, and farmers of color, who are largely being left out of current USDA support efforts. Next, please include a critical bill: the Food Supply Protection Act, S.3840 - in the pandemic aid package. This bill will invest in the infrastructure needed to keep feeding families locally - both through emergency food and through local markets. Please fight for farmers in our state and include these important issues in the next pandemic aid bill.
Thank you for your time."
If your call is routed to an answering machine, you can leave a message too - calls really make a difference!
Thanks for all you do -
The NSAC Grassroots Team
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