US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announces law granting direct aid to family farms | WETM

NEW YORK (WETM) – U.S. Senator from New York Kirsten Gillibrand on Monday announced legislation that will bring economic relief to family farms amid the coronavirus outbreak.

In a telephone interview, Senator Gillibrand explained to 18 News plus about the Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act.

“I have heard from many producers across the state – from our dairy farmers, as well as our fruit and vegetable producers – that some of their normal customers cannot actually deliver,” Senator Gillibrand said. “So what we’re trying to do is make sure these farms can stay in place during this crisis. “

As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Senator Gillibrand said family farms received minimal small business relief under the CARES Act and struggled to access federal farm assistance from emergency allocated to USDA. The legislation will bring economic relief to small farmers suffering massive financial losses due to reduced demand and supply chain disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is a $ 9 billion bill that allows any small farmer in the indebted country to be able to obtain debt relief,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This is a one-time debt relief of up to $ 250,000 on all types of USDA-FSA loans, to get debt relief so they can stay in business and not have to. close.”

In addition to announcing the Relief for America’s Small Farmer’s Act, Senator Gillibrand also calls on the administration to support dairy farmers and provide assistance under the CARES Act to local food producers who have suffered losses due to the ‘epidemic.

“Farmers in New York are struggling and the coronavirus outbreak has pushed many into insurmountable debt,” Senator Gillibrand said. “The CARES law does not go far enough to support smallholder agriculture during this difficult time. They need an urgent and direct loan forgiveness so that they can continue to maintain their operations, pay their workers, and keep food on American tables. “

Convinced that the Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act will ease debt, keep farms open and boost the nation’s food supply, Senator Gillibrand said she will fight to include the legislation in an upcoming stimulus package to ensure ensure that farmers are not left behind. behind.

Senator Gillibrand also spoke to 18 News about the federal government‘s level of coronavirus preparedness. She said the United States did not have enough ventilators or masks in stock and did not have the capacity to create a federal medical supply chain.

“President Trump did not really want to use the Defense Production Act effectively to create this supply chain for personal protective equipment like masks and medical equipment like ventilators,” said Senator Gillibrand. “So now we are fighting to get the resources we need for the hospitals that need them now. Most of our frontline workers don’t even have PPE. The grocery store clerks, some don’t. People in pharmacies don’t have one. Some nurses are encouraged to reuse their face masks and other equipment, instead of having the amount they actually need to do their jobs. “

The full text of the Relief for America’s Small Farmers Act can be found here.