Senators Shaheen, Hassan Urge Agriculture Department to Help New Hampshire Farmers Struggling Because of COVID-19

April 14, 2020

NEW HAMPSHIRE – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) are urging the Department of Agriculture to act immediately to help dairy farmers and the producers of specialty crops, which includes key New Hampshire products such as apples and maple syrup.  

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a $9.5 billion emergency response fund to provide direct support to agricultural producers, including dairy farmers and producers of specialty crops. The CARES Act also partially replenishes by $14 billion the borrowing authority for the Commodity Credit Corporation, which also can be used to assist producers.

Senators Shaheen, Hassan, and colleagues are urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to support dairy farmers and specialty crop producers directly from these funds. The Senators are also urging the Agriculture Department to purchase fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and other crops to support food banks, schools that are providing meals, and emergency feeding organizations. As the Senators wrote, “At a time when Americans are facing job losses on an unprecedented scale, and food banks are experiencing increased demand, a policy that can both support farmers and provide food for those in need is a win-win.”

The fresh produce industry has experienced $5 billion in losses from COVID-19, with additional losses expected in the coming months. The health emergency’s impact on dairy prices has already translated to an estimated $5.7 billion loss at the farm level, following five consecutive years of low prices.

Read the letter on dairy farmers here and on specialty crops here.