Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the announcement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) will provide relief to farmers, ranchers, and consumers in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
The USDA plans to provide $16 billion in direct support for losses where agricultural producers have been impacted. “I urge Louisiana ag producers to document and maintain detailed records of all financial losses as a result of this crisis,” said Strain.
The USDA will also partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. Distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.
“In addition to feeding the people of Louisiana and the rest of America, the direct purchase of fresh produce, dairy and meat for food banks and other organizations will bolster and grow the economy, especially those sectors hardest hit by restaurant and food entity closures as well as the loss of workers in processing facilities,” added Strain.
Strain was recently appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve as co-chair of the critical food and agriculture sector on the Resilient Louisiana Task Force. Strain is also in weekly contact with the USDA discussing keeping the American food supply chain intact, safe and secure.
CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities.