Tester Urges USDA to Ensure Continuity of Food Supply by Supporting Farmers During Coronavirus Pandemic
Senator calls on Secretary Perdue to make temporary flexibilities on Farm Service Agency loans permanent for duration of pandemic
U.S. Senator Jon Tester sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue urging the Trump Administration to grant farmers more flexibility in their Farm Service Agency loans in order to ensure the continuity of the country’s food supply and support rural areas during the coronavirus pandemic by providing critical relief to producers.
“We write to ask that you take action to ensure the continuity of our country’s food supply and support rural areas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic by providing needed relief to farmers-including by ensuring that the temporary flexibilities on farm loans recently announced by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) are made permanent for the duration of the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery, and also by ensuring adequate and equitable access to credit during this period of market uncertainty,” wrote Tester with 31 of his colleagues.
They continued, “Americans always depend on our nation’s farmers to grow the food, fuel, and fiber that we all need, but that reliance becomes much more pronounced in times of crisis. To provide additional support for those whose operations are being affected by the coronavirus, we urge you to consider making emergency measures such as deadline extensions, loan payment deferrals, payment forbearance, and a full suspension of all current and pending foreclosure actions effective for the duration of the pandemic and subsequent economic recovery.”
Tester has led the charge to protect Montana producers during the coronavirus pandemic. After the state’s ranchers recently saw the steepest price decline for cattle in forty years due to the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, Tester demanded that Secretary Perdue take immediate action to stabilize beef markets.
Tester has been working tirelessly to ensure that Montana is prepared to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. After 72 hours negotiating substantial, bipartisan improvements to COVID-19 stimulus legislation that had previously fallen far short, Tester recently voted to deliver critical, urgent relief to Montana workers, families, small businesses, hospitals and others hardest hit by the outbreak.
Full text of Tester’s letter can be found HERE.
Visit tester.senate.gov/coronavirusresources for a list of resources for Montanans during the COVID-19 outbreak.