Advocating for COVID-19 Aid to Independent Producers

April 17, 2020

PCC joined a coalition of 68 farmer, antitrust and environmental groups in sending a letter to the U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin wherein the groups urge the department to prioritize COVID-19 relief funding for small and family-owned businesses and not large agribusinesses.

The letter expresses concern that the $500 billion of funding for businesses, cities and municipalities authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, combined with the USDA’s $23.5 billion for direct disaster relief, will benefit large agribusinesses and not the businesses most impacted by the pandemic.

From seeds to processors, the agricultural industry has become increasingly consolidated, which has directly contributed to the challenges and structural breakdowns experienced in our nation’s food supply chains during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, these large corporations are better situated to survive a crisis and remain in business. Providing such companies with federal aid to the exclusion of small and family-owned businesses would bolster their monopolization of the market.

While they’ve been hit harder economically, smaller businesses and family farms have been crucial to supporting regional food systems and meeting local food needs during the pandemic. Agriculture is key to the survival of rural communities that were struggling even before COVID-19.

The letter urges Secretary Mnuchin to invest stimulus funds into farming systems that lift up farmers and rural communities while providing opportunities for diverse, sustainable agriculture systems to thrive.

Read the full letter to Secretary Mnuchin here.

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