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Trump announces $19 billion for farmers hit by coronavirus to help boost food supply chain

To help feed needy Americans, $3 billion of the package will buy fresh produce, dairy and meat products from U.S. farmers

Published: April 17, 2020 7:12pm

Updated: April 17, 2020 7:38pm

The federal government will shore up farmers with a new $19 billion aid package, President Trump announced Friday.

"I think today's announcement is proof that you have our farmers' backs and that you will continue to do what it takes to support them, and they are very grateful," Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said alongside Trump at the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing.

The aid package comes in two parts, one is $16 billion in direct payments to farmers, ranchers and producers, who "suffered unprecedented losses during this pandemic," Perdue said.

He also said that $6.5 billion in funds to farmers would be quickly distributed through the Commodity Credit Corporation, a USDA program used to implement specific programs established by Congress.

The second part of the farmers' aid package includes $3 billion of direct purchases by the federal government from farmers for fresh produce, dairy and meat products. The products will be distributed to needy Americans through food banks and community and faith-based organizations. 

"Having to dump milk or plow under vegetables ready to market is not only financially distressing, but it's heartbreaking as well to those who produce them," Perdue said.

Perdue said farmers continued to plow and plant this spring, despite shelter-in-place orders to keep the food supply chain secure.

Trump said April 10 at a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing,"I directed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to expedite aid to American farmers, and Secretary Perdue will be using all of the tools at his disposal to develop a program, and very quickly. In this time of crisis, we must keep our supply chains moving, right from beginning to end. And we're committed to supporting the amazing men and women who produce and supply." 


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