This debt relief bill is an opportunity to strengthen the farmers, particularly those in local and regional food systems, who stepped up to feed their communities in the face of COVID.
Small family farmers are the backbone of our food system and rural economies, and need our support in this moment of unprecedented hardship.
NFFC board president Jim Goodman: “We look forward to working with our congressional allies to make meaningful, long-term policy changes to correct the weaknesses in our food system, end systemic racism and create more equitable access to healthcare, education, fair wages and farm prices.”
The report highlights the need for building sustainable and equitable food and farm systems through comprehensive policy reform.
Congress must use future COVID-19 aid to help address longstanding inequities in our agriculture sector, avoid further corporate consolidation, and rebuild diversified local food systems.
NFFC has always worked with family farmers to advocate for policies that support healthy, sustainable communities and prevent crises like COVID-19.
NFFC has called for emergency direct payments scaled to to dairy farm size and supply management to prevent farmers from depending on export markets.
The fourth stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 is already being developed. on the President, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of Commerce to declare a national disaster in the agriculture and seafood sectors to unlock existing federal disaster funding and services, and enable Congress to appropriate further relief funds for the farm and seafood sector. In addition, federal agencies must use every tool available to keep people in their homes, on the land, and on the water.
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The pandemic will impact farmers, rural communities, and people who rely on food assistance in ways that are only beginning to emerge, while also making many people slow down and appreciate the close community and resources they have around them.