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Assembly Republicans write letter to Trump, Congress calling for relief to farmers

Assembly Republicans have authored a letter to President Trump and members of the state’s Congressional Delegation urging them to take swift action to assist farmers suffering devastating impacts from the economic downturn associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

A letter signed collectively by every member of the Conference outlined the dire situation facing the state’s agricultural community, offered a series of recommendations to be included in future federal stimulus funding and called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to identify immediate measures that deliver resources and relief to New York’s farmers.

The letter added, “Members of the New York State Assembly Minority Conference represent thousands of family farms in every region of the State. We write to our federal representatives because we know firsthand the needs of our farmers, and we are witnessing an industry approaching the brink of collapse. Every day that passes without meaningful federal assistance is another day of uncertainty for farming families, or another day farms move closer to closing their doors. We hope the USDA will act with speed and urgency to provide substantial relief here in New York.”

Emergency measures implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19 have caused tremendous disruption in the agricultural industry’s supply chain, market demands and labor force. Dairy farmers have been forced to dump valuable product due to the sudden and dramatic shift of market dynamics.

The recently-passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $2.2 trillion in federal funding across a wide spectrum of industries and programs. Of the CARES Act funding made available to agriculture, Assembly Republicans have called for New York to receive the largest percentage.

Other recommendations put forward by the Conference include measures that would: ensure economic injury loans stemming from the CARES Act are made available to agriculture businesses; ensure that flexibilities on farm loans recently announced by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) are made permanent for the duration of the pandemic; and provide an additional federal stimulus package that provides 100% reimbursement of monies lost to New York farmers.