Farmers and ranchers to receive relief under Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

By: Elizabeth Millner | WCTV Eyewitness News
May 20, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- President Donald Trump announced this week that farmers and local ranchers will get much needed relief for losses they developed during the coronavirus pandemic.

$16 billion will be in direct payments to farmers and ranchers who qualify, and $3 billion will be used to buy farm products and give to food banks and non-profit organizations.

Farmers who have been yielding produce during the pandemic have had crops go to waste.

“In March of whatever it was in South Florida, they were just throwing away just tons and tons and tons of food because they couldn’t get that food to where it needed to be,” said Graves Williams, CEO and General Manager of Gadsden Tomato Company.

Williams say it’s because those products had no way of getting to where they needed to be.

“It wasn’t that the food wasn’t wanted it’s just the distribution process hadn’t been set up to disperse food all over the country,” said Williams.

Now under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, farmers will distribute pre-approved boxes of fresh produce, as well as milk and meats so they can go to food banks who will distribute to those who need it most.

“We can expect is that there will be a higher prevalence of food in security in our community and by having strong partnerships and additional food coming through every growing sources will help us meet this ever growing need,” said Monique Ellsworth, CEO of Second Harvest of the Big Bend.

Ellsworth believes this program could ultimately assist clients.

And Stephen Shelley of Farmshare says it could bring a needed change.

“So before we would get a giant palatalized boxes you know and you would have all this tomato all at once or these cucumbers or squash, zucchini now it’s coming in mixed boxes so that it’s much more readily available or easier for me to distribute now to these families,” said Shelley.

Farmers and ranchers can begin applying for CFAP on May 26.