PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A federal program designed to help farmers weather supply chain disruptions amid the coronavirus pandemic needs to do more for small farms, a Maine congresswoman said.
Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree called on U.S. Department of Agriculture secretary Sonny Perdue on Monday to make the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program more inclusive of small farms that rely on local markets and direct sales. The program is intended to help farmers that have suffered economic hardship due to the pandemic.
Pingree, who is an organic farmer, said the USDA should allow for payments on total revenue losses rather than price losses for individual commodities. She said the program's rules “have meant many of these farms are struggling to access relief or are entirely ineligible for assistance through this program.”
Pingree worked with Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska on the proposal.
In other news related to coronavirus in Maine:
Maine officials have reported more than 3,500 cases of the virus in the state. They’ve also reported 114 deaths. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with health problems, it can cause severe symptoms like pneumonia.